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Curtis Roden – On Board for Giving Day

Every dollar raised for the The Robert F. Busbey Athletic Scholarship, the Frank Tilocco, Jr. Memorial Scholarship, and the Tom Smolinski Endowed Diving Scholarship go towards helping our student athletes achieve their current and future goals. Below are a few words from junior Curtis Roden expressing his thanks, and the career path he’s able to pursue because of this financial assistance.

CURTIS RODEN

“Thank you to everyone who has donated to the Cleveland State Swimming and Diving team! Your support has given, and will continue to give, so many the opportunity to be a successful student-athlete. The Tom Smolinski Endowed Scholarship and the Frank Tilocco Jr. Memorial Scholarship are giving me the chance to dive as I pursue my goal to be a physical therapist. These two scholarships memorialize the lives of two people who have brought so much to the Vikings and everyone in their lives. I feel honored to receive them.”

Read more about each scholarship:

Tom Smolinski Endowed Diving Scholarship

Tom Smolinski, one of CSU’s greatest divers and class of ’99 graduate, passed away from injuries sustained in an automobile accident in 2015. A strong, fun-loving individual, Tom is remembered as always having a smile on his face and a joke to share with his friends and teammates. Tom’s legacy lives on through a scholarship to honor his life and to strengthen the men’s and women’s swimming and diving program.

The Frank Tilocco, Jr. Memorial Scholarship

Frank Tilocco, Jr. was a dedicated member of the diving team who died in a car accident in 1981, when he was a sophomore. He’s remembered as a popular and loved member of the team. In remembrance of his love of diving and CSU, this scholarship is awarded to a student-athlete in the diving program at CSU.

The Robert F. Busbey Athletic Scholarship

Robert F. Busbey, 4-sport letterman and the schools first all-american, former Cleveland State University athletic director, vice president and head swimming coach impacted the University’s sports program, from 1946 – 1994, as only few men have at any collegiate institution. During his coaching tenure, he was named the 1964 U.S.A. assistant swim coach for the Olympic team, served as chairman of the NCAA swimming committee and was responsible for bringing five NCAA swimming and diving championships to CSU. Bob received the 1982 national collegiate and scholastic swimming trophy – one of the sports’ highest awards. Unanimously voted a charter member of the Cleveland State Athletic Hall of Fame, he devoted 49 years of his life to the school where he was educated and employed. The Robert F. Busbey Athletic Scholarship, funded primarily by former Busbey student-athletes,  provides assistance to deserving member of the swimming and diving teams.

 

Thank you again to all of our donors!!

GO VIKES!

On Deck with Jamie Vandewerker & Jonathon LaValle

Every dollar raised for the The Robert F. Busbey Athletic Scholarship, the Frank Tilocco, Jr. Memorial Scholarship, and the Tom Smolinski Endowed Diving Scholarship go towards helping our student athletes achieve their current and future goals. Below are a few words from seniors Jamie Vandewerker and Jonathon LaValle, expressing their thanks, and how this financial assistance has impacted their lives

JAMIE VANDEWERKER

“Receiving the Busbey endowed scholarship as allowed me to be a part of a university and swim program that gave me the skills to be successful at CSU. I have grown so much from my time here and now I will get to transfer what I have learned to my graduate school program. However, it is not only about financial assistance, having a scholarship from this fund directly links me to the history of Cleveland State swimming and shows me that our team has a network of people in the world that are supporting us and want to see us succeed at CSU and beyond.”

JONATHON LAVALLE

“Hello! My name is Jonathon LaValle and thanks to the Busbey Endowed Scholarship I am able to compete for Cleveland State University and pursue my undergraduate degree in Finance and Economics. I am from Kansas, which has no male collegiate swim teams, so it’s because of your generous donations that I am able to afford the out-of-state tuition at Cleveland State. Swimming for CSU has opened so many doors, given me countless experiences, and introduced me to many life-long friends. Thank you for donating to CSU swimming and diving and allowing me, and many other student athletes, the opportunity to pursue their passion both in the classroom and in athletics. GO VIKES!!”

 

See below for more information about each scholarship:

Tom Smolinski Endowed Diving Scholarship

Tom Smolinski, one of CSU’s greatest divers and class of ’99 graduate, passed away from injuries sustained in an automobile accident in 2015. A strong, fun-loving individual, Tom is remembered as always having a smile on his face and a joke to share with his friends and teammates. Tom’s legacy lives on through a scholarship to honor his life and to strengthen the men’s and women’s swimming and diving program.

The Frank Tilocco, Jr. Memorial Scholarship

Frank Tilocco, Jr. was a dedicated member of the diving team who died in a car accident in 1981, when he was a sophomore. He’s remembered as a popular and loved member of the team. In remembrance of his love of diving and CSU, this scholarship is awarded to a student-athlete in the diving program at CSU.

The Robert F. Busbey Athletic Scholarship

Robert F. Busbey, 4-sport letterman and the schools first all-american, former Cleveland State University athletic director, vice president and head swimming coach impacted the University’s sports program, from 1946 – 1994, as only few men have at any collegiate institution. During his coaching tenure, he was named the 1964 U.S.A. assistant swim coach for the Olympic team, served as chairman of the NCAA swimming committee and was responsible for bringing five NCAA swimming and diving championships to CSU. Bob received the 1982 national collegiate and scholastic swimming trophy – one of the sports’ highest awards. Unanimously voted a charter member of the Cleveland State Athletic Hall of Fame, he devoted 49 years of his life to the school where he was educated and employed. The Robert F. Busbey Athletic Scholarship, funded primarily by former Busbey student-athletes,  provides assistance to deserving member of the swimming and diving teams.

 

Thank you again to all of our donors!!

GO VIKES!

 

Kids Kicking Cancer 2017

On Saturday, our viking family welcomed over 20 kids who are either currently fighting, or who have beaten the fight against cancer and other blood disorders. This annual event is hosted by the Kid’s Kicking Cancer program located out of the University Hospitals Rainbow Babies and Children’s Hospital. Both men’s and women’s swimming and diving teams participated in Saturday’s festivities for the 10th consecutive year.

For those unfamiliar with the Kid’s Kicking Cancer program, their mission is to encourage young patients and survivors to live active, fun, and healthy lifestyles. They hold free clinics for swimming, basketball, soccer, golf and more! Kids Kicking Cancer partners with both professional and collegiate athletes to give the kids an experience they will never forget. The Kids Kicking Cancer program is free of charge and welcomes children and adolescents, either on or off treatment, no matter where they receive medical care.

Saturday’s event consisted of an inspirational talk from head coach, Paul Graham, as well as a look into a “day in the life of a college athlete” from Junior Mac Lewis, and senior Jonathon LaValle. After that it was pool time!  The water activities included (but were definitely not limited to) everything from technique work, chicken fights, flips into the pool, kick board baseball, and creating their own whirlpool!  After everyone had exhausted all of their energy, there was a pizza lunch to finish off the afternoon.

Our student athletes had an absolute blast. Freshman Lexie Kostelnik gave input into what her first Kids Kicking Cancer event meant to her. “Being involved in Kid’s Kicking Cancer means so much to me because it is absolutely humbling to see how strong and spirited these children and their families are. I had so much fun spending time with all the kids, and I’ve never seen such bright smiles before…especially on my teammates!!”

Sophomore DJ Arslanian also had a few words to say about his second time attending the event. “I love participating in Kids Kicking Cancer because seeing how much fun the kids have, and how much they look forward to it makes me very happy.”

Freshman Patrick Lance has a few very special reasons why he enjoyed this event so much. “I love kids, and I’m planning on changing my major to education and special education to help them out as well. I loved this event because between friends and family, I have known six people with cancer, so I know the toll it takes on them. Any opportunity I have to distract them from the bad that’s going on, and get them to have fun and feel like a normal kid, I’m going to take it. I plan on serving in the US Marine Corps after college, and the reason I want to do so is for people like them. They inspire me with their willingness to fight. Seeing them laugh and have a great time makes me feel like I’m doing everything I could for them.”

Senior Jamie VanDewerker gave a glimpse into how Kids Kicking Cancer has impacted her over the past four years.”Every year I think Kids Kicking Cancer not only allows children who have faced such difficult things in their lives come and enjoy the pool, but the swim team really ends up playing around in the water too. It’s great to take a break and just splash around with some new friends, and realize that something as little as making a whirl pool can bring so much joy to everyone.”

The day was a huge success and we are so grateful for this partnership with Kid’s Kicking Cancer. We are already looking forward to next year’s event! Please enjoy some snapshots of all the fun below:

 

Dave Guinther Honored with Distinguished Alumni Award

Guinther-DAA-Bio_resizeDave Guinther received a CSU “Distinguished Alumni Award” during Homecoming October 5th, 2017. Dave is not one to easily accept the spot light and only did so to bring recognition to the Champion Campaign/Heritage Project and promote the CSU Viking Swimming & Diving program. He is a leader and makes everyone around him better for his presence.

Dave and his wife Jane invited the Heritage Committee, coaching staff, two current team members and friends to the award dinner, an amazing event that honored the 12 DAA recipients for 2017.

We are so proud of Dave and everyone who contributed to the Champions Campaign/Heritage Project as well as CSU giving day, an event where he has lead our friends, alumni, team and athletic department to the front of all other CSU colleges.

No one is more deserving than Dave Guinther for the Distinguished Alumni Award he received based on his career, community service and especially his impact on CSU Athletics. Guinther-1972-national champion_resizeHe exemplifies the very best of Cleveland State University.

Dave’s 3-minute thank-you video highlights his relationship with Bob Busbey, and honors those who donated their time, treasures and talents to the Champions Campaign and Heritage Project.

 

Pool West view from Deck- upper crop

 

Giving Day Results (and THANKS !) 2017

Hello Viking Nation!

For those of you I have not had the pleasure of meeting yet, my name is Hannah Mattar, and I am the new assistant swim coach here at CSU. You have all played a part in building a program with a rich history of success, and although I may be one of the newest members of viking nation, I swear on Magnus himself that I will do everything in my ability to add to this tradition. I realize I have extremely large shoes to fill, as Kate (Inozemtseva) Heafey has started her new adventure in Massachusetts…however, I am absolutely up for this challenge!

All of that being said, I am very excited to get the Heritage page up and thriving once again! I would like to start this initial post of the 2017-2018 season off with an update from last year’s Giving Day. If you have not heard the amazing news already, Swimming and Diving was able to raise an astounding $31,832! Our alumni and friends were responsible for raising almost a full twenty-five percent of the total monies raised for the university.

Please take a look at the full info-graphic below to see more statistics from Giving Day 2017.

Giving Day Infographic

I also would like to share with you exactly how YOU impacted CSU Swimming and Diving with your generous donations. We have been able to purchase an additional five power towers (bringing our total towers to ten) to increase power/resistance training. Take a look at our journey to acquire those power towers here.

We have also been able to purchase two new 3 meter diving boards, as well as eleven backstroke wedges. Take a look at our new boards in action here, and the backstroke wedges here!

This new equipment has already made a huge impact on our current athletes, and is helping each and every one of them reach their full potential! We would like to extend an extremely big THANK YOU to all who donated and who continue to support our Vikes.

Thank you -whole team picture

We are looking forward to seeing you all at our home opener this weekend against Marshall and Green Bay: Friday 11/3 @ 6:00pm, Saturday 11/4 @ 12:00pm!!

Go Vikes!

Hannah

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Jigsaw Puzzles and Championship Teams

Coach Graham’s Giving Day message is clear on the needs of the program.  And the need is NOW because the Horizon League Championships will return to The Robert F. Busbey Natatorium next year.   By donating during Giving Day 2017 you will enable our team to purchase needed equipment this year and have it installed for next season. Recruits will see it, and our team can use it in preparation for HLC 2018.  Thanks, and here’s Coach Paul’s Giving Day Message:

Championship swimming and diving programs are a lot like jigsaw puzzles – there are many pieces of varying shapes and sizes that must come together to form the perfect picture!  Talented athletes, dedicated coaches and staff, supportive family and friends, outstanding facilities are but a few of those necessary pieces.

I am writing today to talk of a very important component to championship teams…….EQUIPMENT! 

Over the past few years, I have become a BIG believer in the “power” of power training.  There are many ways to accomplish this, but the best is with the “Power Tower”.  This amazing piece of equipment (click to see it in action) allows two athletes to simultaneously swim a training session.  We were using two towers for years and recently bought three more.  Even with a total of five towers, the coaches struggle to get all athletes thru during a week’s cycle of training.  I would to see CSU with a total of ten towers.  This would allow a whole training group to complete a workout at the same time , saving the coaches valuable time to train other important aspects.

In addition to the “Power Towers”, we are looking to buy two diving boards and backstroke wedges for 10 starting blocks.  Diving boards were last purchased in 2010, with a projected life of 4-5 years.  Given the strength of today’s athletes we’re behind in our ability to provide championship capabilities – we really need new boards!  Backstroke wedges are a brand new item that has made an appearance in the last few years.  This simple piece of equipment allows for a much more stable area for the backstroker to perform their start. 

All of these items will allow your “Vikings” to train and perform at the highest level.  Your generous donation will go towards making this happen.  Please donate on CSU Giving Day and help us strive for the top of the Horizon League…………and BEYOND!

Thank You,  Coach Paul Graham

Getting on Board with Sammie Sposet

You’ve heard the saying “diving catch in the end zone”.  As we neared production time for the Heritage Graphics in 2015 we realized the diving photos were stock art – Not Good.  Sammie Sposet and Danny Roberts agreed to “model” for us, and thanks to their dedication (sounds easy – couple of dives, snap snap and done – IT WAS NOT) we have the diving photos next to Bob and Wally.  Thanks and a tip-of-the-hat for their “catchy diving in the deep zone”.  Here are Sammie’s thoughts on CSU Giving Day, 2017:

To all Viking Alumni and Friends,

sammy-pike IMG_3774My name is Sammie Sposet, a former diver for Cleveland State University.  I am reaching out to you as a recent graduate to help give back to the swimming and diving community at Cleveland State during Giving Day 2017.  I whole-heartedly believe that your money will be going toward facility updates and equipment that will help engage athletes, push them toward higher goals and make their memorable experience on the team that much more incredible.

Each sport has equipment and amenities that make it unique and that aid to the quality of the athlete’s performance.  To most, a pool is a pool and a diving board is a board; if you brag to a softball player about having one of the fastest pools in the country, they may not fully appreciate how phenomenal that is.  Tennis players have a tangible racket that “feels right in their hand” or “weighs just the right amount” to start their set off with an ace.  Softball and baseball players have bats that fit in their hands properly, bases that are stable and fields that are not only aesthetically pleasing but allow for level ground and quick movement. 

Here in the pool, swimmers and divers have their starting blocks, their diving boards and their water- all of which may not have a visible “perfect fit” but they make a significant difference in performance.  Before attending Cleveland State University as a Division I NCAA athlete, I participated in club diving at The Robert Busbey Natatorium and fell in love with the facility.  Not only was the pool always well maintained, I continuously watched staff and coaches attempt to make improvements and better the program. 

Here is where you come in.  With any donations you are able to provide, CSU’s swimming and diving program will be able to uphold the legacy of an outstanding facility.  Your gracious donation will be used to purchase new starting equipment, training equipment, diving platform re-surfacing and (my personal favorite) new diving boards! 

New diving boards are no small triumph; without quality boards to train on, it is difficult to become an excellent diver.  Just as other athletes appreciate the grip of their instrument, I appreciate the grip and “ride” of a good board.  

One of the somewhat unsettling aspect to diving is that if you do not perform your tricks correctly you could be seriously injured.  Having beautiful, strong, reliable boards is something that can give a diver a sense of peace, comfort and additional confidence in their dives.  Imagine diving as a similar experience to a Cedar Point trip. When riding on the Mean Streak you are tossed side to side and jarred up and down which makes the experience unpleasant and mildly frightening. 

Diving on old boards is similar to such an experience in that less focus goes into the dive and more into making sure the board doesn’t wiggle around or collapse under you.  I have competed at various facilities with “Mean Streak” level equipment in which prohibited me from competing to the level I am capable.  There are a few pools in our conference in which coaching staff recommends that you not do your most difficult dives so you are not injured in the process.  I am fortunate enough to have been able to train on great boards, and hope that many to come will have the same privilege.

sammy-tuck IMG_3755As an additional benefit, these boards create an attraction for other club teams looking to rent out our diving facilities.  With more club diving teams drawn to CSU, more divers flock to the sport and our community.  By creating this attraction, you are indirectly helping to recruit new divers while building legacy within these pool gutters.  High school swimmers and divers will look forward to district competitions, just as I did, in the fastest pool with the greatest boards and one of the only tower facilities around. And with Rich Karban, a diving coach dedicated to not only developing diving skills, but more importantly instilling skills to help realize solutions to life challenges long after leaving the pool. 

This equipment has many positives and I hope that you will participate in giving day 2017 to support our team as they prepare for the next Horizon League Championship which will be right here in the Busbey Pool. 

I personally look forward to giving back and supporting the generations to come. As JFK once said, “My fellow CSU alumni, family and friends, ask not what you can do for your pool, but what your pool can do for you” … or maybe that was me. 🙂

With Love,
Sammie Sposet

 

Smolinski Scholarship “Thank You’s” from Tori and Curtis

The first-ever Tom Smolinski  Diving Scholarship was awarded to Tori Taffner and Curtis Roden on  January 31st, 2017 at The Robert F. Busbey Natatorium.  We all owe Kim Smolinski and her family a big “GO VIKES” and Thank You for this support of our team.  Here are thank yous from Tori and Curtis:

To everyone who donated, and those considering donating, I want to say thank you.

Tori TaffnerI am beyond appreciative to have been able to receive the first “Tom Smolinski” diving scholarship in my final year at Cleveland State University. Your contribution has allowed me to focus on my studies in my final semester rather than worrying about the financial side.

The diving community has always been a close one; I have never been to a meet where I was not able to have a conversation and get along with other divers. It has been an honor to be awarded with this scholarship as it has been named after a great man. I look forward to the future of this wonderful diving program, I know it will only improve.

This is a scholarship that will allow for the divers who come here to be able to focus more on their diving and to carry on the legacy of Mr. Smolinski. That is why I will forever be thankful for your contribution.

Thank you, Tori Taffner

 

To all who contributed to the “Tom Smolinski” diving scholarship

Curtis RodenI wanted to take some time to write a letter expressing my appreciation for your generosity for making this scholarship possible. I am extremely honored to be one of the first recipients of this scholarship, in the name of such an inspiring man.

Allow me take a moment to introduce myself so you can know where your money is going. I am a pre physical therapy major, with a minor in psychology and working towards a certificate in gerontology. As you may know, this degree requires a doctorate, so any assistance financially, aids a great deal by taking part of the weight off my shoulders, and allowing me to focus more on excellence in academics and diving.

Finally, I understand there are fundraisers designed to build up Tom’s scholarship. I would love to take part in these to increase funds so it will have an even greater impact on future recipients. I know that this scholarship has a bright future in helping many others like myself achieve their goals in furthering their education.

Kindest regards, Curtis Roden

Power Training Pays Off

Yesterday the CSU women’s and men’s relay teams set two new school records at the Horizon League Championship meet at UIC in Chicago.  Read details HERE. Conditioning plays a huge part in sprinters’ performance, and today’s guest blog features thoughts from Senior Robert Tolson.

Dear Donors and Alumni,

Over the past 4 years I have had an uncountable amount of experiences thanks to the Swimming and Diving Team at Cleveland State. Many of these experiences have been made possible because of generous donors and alumni such as yourself.

During my career at CSU, I have seen a lot of change in the pool, training, equipment, and coaching staff. The Robert F. Busbey Natatorium has transformed from a dull outdated pool into a tribute to the past, present and future of the CSU Swimming and Diving Program. This was a great addition to the program and truly embodies who we are and what connects each and every one of us.

Beyond the aesthetics of the Natatorium, there have been several performance and equipment upgrades at the Robert F. Busbey Natatorium. The blocks have been resurfaced and upgraded to fit back plates so every swimmer that competes at our pool has the opportunity to swim their best.

The one piece of equipment that has transformed my swimming ability over my time at CSU has been the Power Towers. As a sprinter, strength and power is a vital component of my training. When I first started swimming at CSU the team was limited to 2 very old power racks that did not function properly. They would break halfway through a set and leave the swimmers at odds. Over the next 3 years 5 Power Towers have been added to our arsenal and they have been worked very hard. Unfortunately, this still leaves the 3 coaches juggling time with the still limited number of Power Towers.

Thank you for your support of the Cleveland State Swimming and Diving Team and we hope you will be able to contribute this giving day!

Sincerely,

Robert Tolson

Thanks Jim and Wally for TV Platform Spiff

We can thank Jim Starrett ’74 and Wally Morton for spending a day to spiff up the TV Platform with a new coat of paint. How appropriate they choose December 28th – exactly two months before CSU Giving Tuesday !

Its ’bout impossible for a guest to walk into the viewing area without getting an eyeful of the platform. Finiahing this painting knocks off another item in the tuning up of the The Robert F. Busbey Natatorium.

As you can see from the intro picture the platform sits just below the Heritage Corner in a visible line of site to the pool.  Switching your field of view toward the NE corner of the pool the TV Platform is framed by new record boards to the north and timeline wall lined up above.

jim-wally-platform-NE-IMG_0687 - resize

So thanks again on behalf of our team – and Go Vikings !