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!


Coach Graham Framed -Power Towers -Busbey-cr - Copy

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

Pool West view from Deck - sammie

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

tolson IMG_4580

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!


Robert Tolson

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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.

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


Heritage Corner Kiosk Upgrade – Thanks Kurt

The  Heritage Corner is a key element of the Heritage Project, the final phase of the Champions Campaign. Thanks to advances in windows operating systems, we were able to create a website that provided information to friends and alumni during the final phase of the Champions Campaign, and then migrate that website onto a large wall-mounted PC that now serves as an interactive kiosk overlooking the pool.

When first installed in 2015 the PC had access to the website, but was not really functioning reliably as a stand-alone, “bullet proof” kiosk.  With the release of Windows 10 and its “kiosk mode” we had the technology to provide that capability.

Enter Addison Kaufman’s father Kurt, whose background in IT and willingness to reconfigure the PC while in town for the Magnus Cup resulted in “Heritage Corner Kiosk 2.0″.  WAY TO GO KURT !  With the swimming & diving season upon us this kiosk will provide a visible and efficient way for parents, team members and visitors to share 9 decades of Fenn/CSU Swimming and Diving Heritage when in The Robert F. Busbey Natatorium.

If you happen to be checking out the Heritage Corner and the PC is not up and running, follow these three steps:

  1. Push the power-on button – located on the lower right side of the PC.
  2. Log on using the “kiosk” option – one of three options available
  3. Enter the password – Enter the following password: ” Excellence In All We Do ! 31 ”    (All One word, no spaces,  CASE SENSITIVE)

That will start the kiosk running, and will cycle through the half dozen most recent blogs.  It will turn off automatically after 3 hours of inactivity

And speaking of the Magnus Cup, what a great sight to see bleachers and pool filled with swimmers, parents, friends and alumni for this fifth annual edition of the Magnus Cup held November 18-20. img_0455-full-house


You can read all about the results HERE.

  • The CSU men won the Magnus Cup for the third consecutive season, posting 1,608.5 points.
  • Senior Philipp Sikatzki broke the school record in the 200 IM, reset two pool records and notched NCAA ‘B’ cut times in four events. Sophomore Tommi Wolst broke the school record in the 200 backstroke and surpassed two NCAA ‘B’ standards.
  • The CSU women finished fourth of 14 teams at the Magnus Cup with 800.5 points, their best finish at the meet since 2013.
  • Sophomore Molly McNamara broke the school record in the 100 fly, with a ‘B’ standard, and also won the 200 fly. Junior Tobie Zeller won the 100 breaststroke.

Follow the team after the holidays – the schedule is HERE.



Heritage Graphics Concepts – Sept, 2014

WallBanners_All_pano_cropThe Champions Campaign provided the funds to upgrade the record boards, add championship banners and install a new video board.  You can listen to a 1-minute Thank You video and see the results here: Champions Campaign Thank You Video.

The Heritage Project will complete the Champions Campaign by adding eye catching and emotional graphics to the Robert F. Busbey Natatorium and will feature our team’s heritage, alumni, coaches, community, history and more.

Everyone who passes by, peeks in, visits or swims in the pool should leave with a feeling of “wow” ! Alumni, especially, who see the timeline, heritage corner or Ninth Lane pictures up close should leave with a little bit of a lump in their throat or a tug at their heart as they emotionally re-connect with teammates, coaches and events and the opportunities that in some way developed because of their time with the CSU Swimming and Diving Team.

The concept graphics below are based on feedback from swimmers and divers, both men and women, who were connected with Bob Busbey and Wally Morton over the last 50 years. The Heritage Team looks forward to feedback from CSU swimming and diving alumni, coaches, current team members and friends as these images are refined during the final design, fabrication and installation phases of the Heritage Project – the third and final phase of the Champions Campaign.

You can download a .pdf file for a higher quality view here:  Heritage Concept Graphics with Descriptions  (11MB .pdf file).  Or you can view the descriptions and  images below.

NinthLane_pool_deckTHE NINTH LANE – on the south wall opposite the rec center – will feature large graphics visible from the rec center or pool deck. Pictures of teams, alumni, coaches and events since 1932 will be visible when viewed up close because of the “mosaic-like” graphics on the lower portion of the panels.Unbroken_Ninth_Lane

When viewed from up close, observers will see individual pictures.Ninth Lane photomosaic_detail

This is the view of the Ninth Lane from the Rec Center or pool deck near the north wall.NinthLane_pool_deck_crop

This is a rendering of the view from the top of the south bleachers.NinthLane_Close_Scale_crop


Western Panarama from East EndBANNERS – on the west and north walls – will feature large scale graphics visible from the bleachers, pool decks and from the south wall windows. These graphics will honor Bob Busbey and Wally Morton and will add excitement and color to the pool. These banners, heavy vinyl or light-weight cloth, could be mounted to the walls or on stand-offs to add a sense of motion to the graphics.Coach_Banners_Busbey Coach_Banners_Morton




The concept would be to utilize a range of action shots on either side of Bob and Wally.North_Banners_Four

North_Banners_One North_Banners_TwoWest_Banners_One









West_Banners_Three - CopyThis is what visitors would when viewed from the eastern bleachers WallBanners_All_pano_crop

From the south bleachers it would look like this.

This is a view from the pool deck on the north side of the pool.WallBanners_North_close_crop



East wall from NW cornerTIMELINE – at the base of the east bleachers – will feature people and events in the history of the program from 1932 through 2039. They will capture key events since the first Fenn team and continue through the 75th anniversary of Cleveland State University in 2039.

Many additional dates, people and events will be available on the CSU Swimming and Diving Heritage Website. – www.csuvikings-swim-dive-heritage.com.

The timeline would extend from 1932 through 2039-the date picked because it is 25 years from the launch of the Heritage Website and will coincide with the CSU 75th anniversary.



These concept drawing sere created to share the vision of the timeline.  The events shown on the detailed mockup below are simply to show size and scale – just placeholders for now.  THE HERITAGE COMMITTEE NEEDS YOUR HELP- we’re looking for historically correct inputs and suggestions for entries on the time line.  For example, we wouldn’t repeat coaches names each year, just their first year as head coach.  The “milestones” below were taken from media guides, photo albums and other records.  YOU can make a difference in what gets posted to the wall; just send your corrections or additions to heritage@csu-swimming-diving.com.


Here is a view of the timeline from the foot of the eastern bleachers.Timeline_near_perspective_crop


 North Wall from S Bleachers-croppedCOMMUNITY CORNER – located on the north end of the east bleachers – will be visible from the rec center as well as the south bleachers. These graphics will capture community involvement in the pool and will focus on the many local, regional and international groups who have used and made history in The Robert F. Busbey Natatorium. The concept below is one option being considered for the Community Corner.

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When initially designed and installed, we will leave some space for additional entries.  Other options might include an actual bulletin board as part of the corner.CommunityCorner_3 Center Fill only - Copy

This is the view of the Community Corner from the south bleachers.  Note the watchful eye of Magnus between the two new Record Boards and visibility from the Rec Center.CommunityCorner From South Bleachers

Heritage Corner

HERITAGE CORNER – located on north east corner of the second floor of the pool between the two main entrances – will be the home of a large kiosk. The attention-getting graphics housing the computer running an interactive touch-sensitive screen will honor the Program’s heritage.

A second kiosk will be located in the hallway and will be mounted on the bulletin board next to the ticket window.HeritageCorner_flat

From the western end of the pool the Heritage Corner will appear as a boundary for the Timeline, offsetting the Community Corner on the north.HeritageCorner_Longview_crop

Notice the 3-dimensional raised panel over the touch-enabled screen in this view from the south east corner of the pool just inside the “tunnel” entrance. This panel, approximately 6″-8″ deep and 4′ wide, provides both dimensionality and security.HertiageCorner_close_crop

Here is view of the Community Corner, Timeline and Heritage Corner viewed from the western pool deck.East_panorama_pieces_crop


ADDITIONAL GRAPHICS will be developed for the men’s and women’s locker room, door wraps, graphics for the “tunnel” and other areas in and around the pool deck.

Check out the concepts for the Tunnel Entrance to the pool – and let us know YOUR preference: Bright Blue or Dark Cool ?

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Tom Smolinski Diving Scholarship Buffalo Bison Event

A very successful outing was hosted by Tom Smolinski’s lifelong friend Rob Hanlon for “The Cleveland State University Tom Smolinski Endowed Diving Scholarship” on August 15, 2016. The Event took place at the Buffalo Bison Coca Cola Baseball Field as the AAA Bisons took on the Red Wings. Activities included a Reverse Raffle, Silent Auction and plenty of delicious food and drink. Over 70 people attended included Kim, her daughters, Tom’s parents, CSU Head Coach Paul Graham, CSU Diving Coach Rich Karban, former Coach Wally Morton, and so many of those who loved Tom.

The Buffalo Bison Baseball Outing was an event organized to honor Tom’s Legacy and continue to grow the Cleveland State University Diving Scholarship in his name.  CSU is honoring Tom by awarding two scholarships in his name for the 2016-17 school year. The recipients will be announced at the beginning of the season at the annual Splash Bash on October 1, 2016.

The Event was a spectacular success with over $6,000 being raised for the Tom Smolinski Endowment. The Endowment continues to grow as we honor the life of Tom who was one of CSU’s greatest divers. Kim and the entire Smolinski family along with the community of Buffalo have made a real difference in people’s lives as others will have the opportunity to receive a degree at CSU and participate in the sport of diving.

In case you missed the results of the Highly Successful Giving day 2016 – AND the men and women’s teams’ performances at the Horizon League Championship – you can read the February 28th email sent to friends and alumni HERE.

Hope to see you at the annual Splash Bash fundraiser – Saturday, Oct 1st at The Robert F. Busbey Natatorium.   Other CSU Homecoming events are here.