Join me on #csugivingday on Wednesday Feb. 24. As we honor Tom and support the TEAM I love! When you participate on CSU Giving Day, you make the Swim-Dive Team strong!
Tom was a great teammate,roommate, and most importantly, a great friend. He had an amazing quality of always having a positive attitude, which helped us overcome adversity during our college experience. Tom was very passionate about education, and his major in communications in particular. He was truly a student first, even with all of the time and energy spent with the Team that won back to back Conference Championships. Graduating from college meant a lot for Tom. We graduated together in 1999 and were roommates at the time – renting an apartment in Euclid together. I will always remember celebrating after receiving our Bachelor’s degrees!
Tom was very excited about his internship with the Cleveland Plain Dealer newspaper in the Summer of 1998. While many of us struggled through our internships/summer jobs, Tom truly enjoyed his and was very passionate about his experience- I was jealous.
I will never forget how excited Tom was about getting his college education and being a member of a Team that never lost a Conference Championship. Amazing!
Dmitri Ponomarev, CSU ’99
WOW! Another season is almost in the books. The older I get, the faster time goes. The season began way back in September with a roster of over 50 athletes. We welcomed 21 new swimmers and divers to the ways of the “Viking”. Early season was highlighted by the dedication of the Heritage project. All the great history that this shares with the team and public is truly amazing.
The “Vikings” finished up the first part of the season with the Magnus Cup. This has been a great opportunity to peak as a team and see where we are at training wise in the season. There were many great performances highlighted by breaking two Busbey Natatorium records and four team records. Philipp Sikaztki broke the pool record of Pablo Morales in the 100 butterfly and the team of Sikatzki, Tommi Wolst, Szymon Golczyk and Robert Tolson took down the 400 medley relay record. Team records were recorded by Molly McNamara in the 200 butterfly, Szymon Golczyk in the 200 butterfly, Tommi Wolst in the 200 IM and the above mentioned 400 medley relay. In the classroom, we had thirty-six athletes achieve over a 3.0 grade point average and five that had a 4.0!
The start of the second half of the season was very warm! The team was able to train in San Juan, Peurto Rico for a week and enjoyed perfect weather. Wally Morton and his wife, Carol, were there to ensure that the trip ran smoothly. The team trained great and has continued that with some very solid training and meets in January. As the calendar moves into February the team is eager show off all the hard work! The Horizon League championship’s is being held at Oakland University. Both of the teams are eager to swim/dive the way they have been training and swimming at the meets…………FAST!
One of the things we always discuss is the history; and all of the athletes that have helped get the Cleveland State University swimming and diving program where it is today. It is a topic we do not take lightly and are always working to make you proud of the current team. As we go through the process and build upon that legacy, we ask for your help. The annual CSU “Giving Day” is February 24th, which is also the first day of the Horizon league championships. As the team strives to perform in the pool and on the diving boards, we ask you to step forward and show your support by giving to Cleveland State University swimming and diving! We are striving to be the best team in the Horizon league and we would LOVE to have the alumni to be the most active group on “Giving Day”!
See you at the pool!
Coach Paul Graham
I sincerely ask you to support the Tom Smolinski Scholarship on Giving Day on Wednesday February 24! By doing so you will provide more scholarships for the CSU Swim-Dive Teams. Please read why it means so much to me. #csugivingday
During our time at CSU, we were taught how to exhibit toughness and a will to win on a daily basis. No individual on this planet defined those qualities more than Tom!
As a personal friend since our high school days in the Buffalo NY area, I wanted to share a quick memory of Tom.
First off, Tom was a legend in the western New York diving community for several years. As such, when I got to know him, he was an established “star” who I was a little intimidated to meet.
Our first meeting took place during a dual meet between our rival high schools. Up to this point in time, I did not appreciate what athleticism a diver could display and Tom was the first I had seen with his skill level. By the end of that first personal encounter I was Tom’s biggest fan. We immediately became good friends and ended up running in the same social circles for the rest of our high school days.
At the end of our senior seasons, he and I had the good fortune to be roommates at the NY State swimming and diving championships. It was there that I got to truly see what a fun spirited kid Tom was. The University of Rochester pool deck lit up when Tom was on deck. He had an amazing ability to connect with swimmers, divers and coaches from the entire state. It was no surprise that Tom was being heavily recruited by major NCAA division 1 programs.
Unfortunately Tom had a little too much fun that last high school season and decided to focus on his studies at a local community college rather than continue his diving career. We continued to stay in touch when I went off to study and swim at CSU in the Fall of 1993.
Tom went on to have a great career at CSU as a key part of two Conference Championship Teams! He was a winner in every way.
It was an honor to dive with Tom Smolinski at Cleveland State University. He was a great diver that kept us entertained and focused. We showed up every day because as a teammate Tom made it fun and pushed us to be our best.
Tom described diving to others in practical terms “You have to be nuts to dive.” He explained the concept of climbing a ladder and then throwing all your weight at the end of a fiberglass board. “While the board launches you in the air, you are expected rotate and twist as many times as you can before crashing into the pool. You always hope for a soft landing but most times it leads to an inevitable beating.”
Diving practice with Tom was a thrill all by itself. If you weren’t holding your head from a near concussion, you were holding your gut from laughing so hard at one of his jokes or stunts that he contrived for the sole purpose of distracting us from physical and mental anguish. Most of us would have loved to end the daily beatings inherent with the sport, but Tom would keep us from self-imploding at practice.
Tom Smolinski was someone that was always there to pick us up and make us laugh. He never let us quit, teaching us how to be resilient – which made many of life’s daily beatings a little more manageable.
Bogdan Kozul, CSU ‘98
Dear CSU Viking Diving & Swimming Alums and Friends,
It is with great sadness that we share the loss of Tom Smolinski, a proud CSU Viking Diver and class of ’99 graduate. Thanks to the commitment of many, however, his legacy can live on with the Tom Smolinski Endowed Diving Scholarship.
We have an incredible opportunity to honor Tom and his family along with strengthening the Cleveland State University Women’s and Men’s Swim-Dive program by providing scholarship assistance to the team. CSU Giving Day 2016 provides this opportunity.
Kim Smolinski with daughters in The Robert F. Busbey Natatorium during Heritage Graphics installation – August, 2015
Did you know the Tom Smolinski family led by his widow Kim and her two young twin daughters has raised almost $30,000 in order to establish the Endowment? The Robert F. Busbey Charitable Foundation will provide a matching grant on Giving Day for all donations up to $5,000. The money will not only help the Divers but the Swimmers as it will enable more scholarship money to be awarded to all team members.
Here’s how you can get involved and make a difference. On Wednesday February 24 (GIVING DAY) visit http://givingday.csuohio.edu to make your gift. Click on the ATHLETICS tab then be sure to specify the Tom Smolinski Endowed Diving Scholarship as the recipient of your donation.
- The Tom Smolinski Endowed Scholarship will make a difference for Swimming and Diving.
- Let’s honor a two time Horizon League (MCC) Team member who loved CSU and put family first.
- While the amount of the donation is important, even more urgent is to show you care by participating on Giving Day at any donation level.
Your simple act of pushing the donation button on CSU GIVING DAY Wednesday February 24 will show everyone how much Swimming and Diving friends and alumni positively impact the University. No matter what the amount of your gift, the fact that you engaged and gave is what’s most important.
Help us honor Tom and support CSU Swimming and Diving. Please “PUSH THE BUTTON” on GIVING DAY, February 24th.
Jeff Arnold, Former Head Diving Coach (1981-2002)
The Holiday season is upon us and my heart bursts (no pun intended) with pride as I experienced the impact of the Heritage Project on CSU Athletics. My experience during late November when I attended the Magnus Cup Swimming and Diving Invitational and the Horizon League Championship game of Women’s Volleyball was phenomenal and something I wish to share with you.
The Robert F. Busbey Natatorium has never looked better. As I looked down upon our world class aquatic facility from the spectator area above the new graphics visible in all directions , the Video Interactive Kiosk, the state of the art Score Board, the beautiful blue water and the history of our program were evident everywhere. The Wow Effect was in full bloom as spectators, coaches, swimmers and divers all remarked how exhilarating the appearance of the pool impacted us all. I had the opportunity to swim between sessions and what amazed me most was how you could see all the graphic displays in the water and the motivational impact that was felt. I literally glided through the water with a feeling of joy. It is an amazing feeling knowing how much time, effort and expertise came together to meet the many goals of the Heritage Committee.
Between sessions I also attended my first Horizon League Championship Event in Woodling Gymnasium. The CSU Viking Women’s Volleyball Team dominated Valparaiso University to win the crown! Pride, Enthusiasm, Discipline, Athleticism and Focus were evident in the winning performance. I am impressed with Coach Chuck Voss and his staff with the high level of performance obtained by their Team.
The CSU Swimming and Diving Team had Championship performances in breaking four pool and school records and winning many events. The Men won the Magnus Cup and both teams showed great improvement. I was Viking Proud! Coach Graham and his staff are to be commended.
The Heritage Project is about Connecting, Recruiting, and providing support for the program we love. The support can be displayed not only in monetary donations but providing resources to help all those who are and have been in the program through career development and the many other critically important factors needed to make a bright future available.
Our next focus is promoting the Tom Smolinski Endowment for Diving on CSU Giving Day on Wednesday February 24, 2016. On that day you will be able to give as little at $5 (more if you like !) with just a click of the mouse or touch of the finger! Tom, a former two times Conference Champion Diver (98/99), recently tragically died in an automotive accident. His wife Kim along with her two young daughters has raised over $25,000 dollars.
The Busbey Foundation has made a commitment to match all gifts given up to $5K. We plan to donate this match on Giving Day. More than just raising funds for Tom’s endowment we would like to also see Swimming and Diving alumni the most involved giving CSU alumni in terms of the number of Giving Day donations. With hundreds of alumni we CAN demonstrate our TEAM IS FOREVER attitude.
As we approach the Giving Day Date we will continue to remind all to get involved at whatever level you can afford. The most important factor is that you CARE! Help us help reach other alumni. And most important on Giving Day “Just push the button” !
Carol and I wish everyone the happiest of holidays! May you truly be touched by the love and joy that surround us! Vikings Forever!
Thanks to phenomenal support from connected swimming and diving alumni, The Robert F. Busbey Natatorium looks newer today than when it was new 40 years ago. Here’s an update from the September 26, 2015 Champions Campaign Dedication.
The star of the dedication was of course the new pool. The North and West wall graphics feature 80 years advice from two great coaches: Bob Busbey and Wally Morton.
The Ninth Lane Banner highlighted Magnus watching over and motivating our teams while honoring alumni with thousands of photos – each with its own story. This was clearly the “go to” location where swimmers, spectators and alumni congregated to look for “their story”. We hope this will be the source of many “selfies” which will in turn create even more stories.
The neatly wrapped video screen and brand new lane timer provide state-of-the-art timing capabilities. Installers from Colorado Timing have commented this is one of the best “wraps” they’ve seen.
New bottom paint and nearly invisible water add to the feeling of “new”.
Nine decades of team Heritage surrounds the pool with Championship Banners and record boards.
The Timeline Wall boldly displaying team accomplishments in the pool, classroom and community. With room for another 24 years, which happens to correspond to CSU’s 75th anniversary, this area was designed to grow with the team over time.
The Community Corner highlights CSU neighborhood partners. We hope this area, clearly visible from the Rec Center, will become a “posting place” for all who use the pool or plan events for the pool.
The Heritage Corner interactive kiosk brings team history to life for those in the pool and everyone world-wide. The two donor panels shout out THANK YOU to the 183 friends and alumni who made Wally’s dream of capturing the program’s history and posting team pictures in the pool come true.
Members of the Champions Campaign and Heritage Project committees are shown next to the donors. Wally & Joe launched the Champions Program in 2009 along with Jim Smith and Mike Dolzak. Mike Lehto, Tom Fattlar, Jim Starrett, John McCreery, Renee Adam and I signed on to complete the Heritage Project. Coach Paul Graham joined last year. Without John Parry’s support and President Berkman’s commitment to CSU swimming and diving, the pool bottom would not be shiny white and the water would not be crystal clear.
Flying Hand Design studios sat with us in the pool, listened and carefully noted our objectives for each heritage element, and then captured our visions in bold style. Repros Inc. brought them to life. And did so within a very aggressive budget and in a time frame that was often measured in days not weeks (and even hours !). Thank you Repros for your team’s expertise and dedication to the Heritage Project.
John Parry was MC for Saturday’s ceremony. Coach Paul Graham stressed the “three C’s” embodied in the day’s events. He laid out the importance of CONNECTIONS, the CELEBRATION enabled by the time, treasures and talents of the many alumni involved, and the importance of the decades-long CLEVELAND STATE UNIVERSITY heritage as part of CSU swimming and diving proud history and bright future.
President Berkman thanked the swimming and diving alumni for reinforcing the importance of student athletics to the university and community. He highlighted the team’s history of innovation, from the design of the pool and pioneering strength training to global recruiting and local connecting. The President also held up the team’s philanthropy and use of technology to stay connected as an example of best practice for CSU athletics and academics as well as colleges and universities across the nation.
In closing John Parry reminded everyone that “Tradition Never Graduates”.
Bob’s and Wally’s roles in cementing the Fenn/CSU swimming and diving program, figuratively and literally, have been huge and unprecedented. No program in swimming and diving history has benefited more from two individuals than ours.
We expressed our feelings on behalf of all alumni to Wally:
“Wally – You defined who we are as true Vikings. You expanded the program with unparalleled loyalty to Bob. And dedication to the teams, CSU and the world of swimming. You understand the importance of preparation in all we do here in the pool, classroom and out in the community. You are the winningest coach in CSU history. Most important – you truly love every swimmer and diver on every team you have ever coached (even those that were hard to love, even on training trips)”.
The Heritage Project represents much more than pictures, websites and eye-popping graphics. We have created a platform for recruiting, fund raising and connecting. We know this lightning fast, world-class hall will continue to attract amazing women and men from around the world and down the street to become CSU swimmers & divers. And Leaders!
The Heritage Project will enable current and future alumni, and the University’s administration, to stay connected. To expand support for CSU Swimming and Diving – whether it’s building new lockers, funding scholarships, recruiting top talent or writing new chapters to fill in the next 24 years on the Timeline Wall.
In closing I would call your attention to the wording above the Heritage Corner. You can read this as two of our key values – TEAM is Forever, and EXCELLENCE in All We Do.
As we look forward I like to think of it this way: Team Excellence is Forever In All We Do.
On behalf of Swimming and Diving Friends and Alumni from around the world THANK YOU again from everyone on the Champions Campaign and Heritage Committee who have worked since 2009 to make last weekend’s events a reality.
Dave Guinther ’69
Splash Bash Post-Script – The post-Splash Bash BBQ was clearly a huge hit with everyone, and a tradition we hope continues forever. As a committee we joked about “having our cake and eating it too”. This came true last weekend thanks to “CPG” and the current teams Moms and Dads [Private note to Brian Bailey – please thank your team for the tremendous parent/team/alumni BBQ and the special “turkey treat” that powered Wally and I through Saturday evening].
We weren’t able to get all the alumni who joined us Saturday in the same lane however here are many of the old and new alumni who were there:
Homecoming weekend has begun at Cleveland State University. Alumni and friends will celebrate the completion of the Display of the history of the Fenn/CSU Swimming & Diving Program along with the rich past of the Fisher/Busbey Aquatic Facilities dating back to 1931. The Heritage Project represents much more than graphic displays, however. It is a living breathing process of building on the past, to inspire the current Teams and provide the resources for excellence in the future.
Over the past 84 years Fenn College/ Cleveland State University have impacted aquatics sports in a profound way. Let me mention just a few of those pioneering moments.
One of the finest and most beautiful swimming pools in the nation was built on the fifth/sixth floors of an early twentieth century downtown iconic high rise building named Fenn Tower. Fenn College evolved from the YMCA and made learning to swim mandatory for its students. The requirement to swim continued through the early days of CSU into the 1980’s. The Fisher Pool was the site of the first televised swim meets in the late 40’s/early 50’s. It was the golden age of Fenn Fox Swimming without scholarships and yet record winning performances along with national recognition.
In 1973 the “fastest pool ever built” was opened on CSU’s concrete campus. It was part of the two pool complex now called The Robert F. Busbey Natatorium. The facility has hosted numerous regional, national and international events in synchronized swimming, water polo, swimming and diving. The NCAA National Championship Meets resulted in the highest percentage of American/US Open (world records in yards) in the history of swimming to this day. In 1977 it is the only pool that had fastest times ever swam in every event in one meet.
The CSU /Busbey Natatorium was the first pool where the Chinese National Team competed in Diving outside it country in 1981. The RFB Natatorium has continued to be a focal point of aquatics to this day. The Viking Swimming and Diving Program is one of the top mid major programs in the nation which has resulted in more wins than any other sport at CSU with twenty one Conference Championships since 1973. Even more amazing is the incredible academic and community outreach awards that have been achieve over the years. The experiences gained have resulted in alumni that have gone on to greatness in every career imaginable.
Here’s a short history of how the Heritage Project originated. Although we had a proud program with many accomplishments only the record board showed our history – and it had been falling apart in recent years. In the early 90’s I had a dream of displaying all our Team photos, Conference Championships, and updating the Colorado Display Board to give us the latest technology. The Champions Campaign was begun in 2009 under the direction of Joe Stockwell which resulted in a new record board, conference championship banners and the framing of both the old and new display boards. All the money was donated by alumni and friends.
From the Champions Campaign a new effort was launched under the leadership of Dave Guinther to display our history. We name this final phase of the Champions Campaign the Heritage Project. Dave’s innovative skills based on his background in busines technology has resulted in an interaction with friends and alumni of CSU Aquatics to celebrate our past, inspire current teams and provide additional resources for the future.
The Heritage Project is spectacular! The goal was to create THE WOW FACTOR and it has been accomplished! But it is more than a graphic display. The Heritage Committee comprised of Dave Guinther, Wally Morton, Joe Stockwell, Jim Smith, Tom Fattlar, Jim Starrett, Mike Lehto, Paul Graham, Renee Adam and John McCreery, have set up a process to connect with alums and friends. It has tapped into the knowledge and expertise of those who care about CSU. It has connected our alums/friends with each other and with the current participants along with top level administrators. It identifies our values, vision and goals for the future. It creates job position networking and resources to inspire those currently involved as students on our teams. It gives the opportunity to give back to the program through Endowment Donations and other forms of giving. The goal was to be the most active alumni group as defined by the percentage and amount of giving at Cleveland State University. It underscores Swimming & Diving as a relevant and essential program for the present and future.
There is much history and many more benefits of the Heritage Project that I have not mentioned. Join us this weekend on Friday September 24 and Saturday September 25 for CSU Homecoming and Swimming and Diving Heritage Weekend.
If for some reason you cannot be with us in person then go to csuvikings-swim-dive-heritage.com to stay connected with past teammates and current team. The unveiling of the Heritage Project on Saturday will be a conclusion to a job well done and the beginning of new successes to come.
Viking Strong and Vikings Forever! Wally Morton
CSU’s Homecoming 2015 offers six events where CSU Swimming and Diving Friends and Alumni can connect for great times. Golf and fellowship on Friday; swimming, celebration and more fellowship on Saturday. A true “Teamship” weekend.
Friday September 25th :
- Golf outing at 9:00 am
- Heritage Warm-up Reception at 2:30 pm or so / Dinner at 3:30 pm
- HEADS UP – if you would like to join post-Golf gathering OR later Friday evening get-together email firstname.lastname@example.org for plans and locations (no longer at the golf course)
Saturday September 26th:
- Splash Bash at 8:00 am
- Heritage Graphics Dedication with Dr. Berkman at 10:30 am
- Team/Parent/Alumni BBQ at 1:30 pm
- Photo opp and dessert around 2:30 pm
- Dinner downtown to follow; email email@example.com for plans and location
Details and Registration (NOTE: Registrations forms for Splash Bash Available Below; please fill out and return to Paul Graham. Register for all other events on-line using links below).
- ——- Friday 9/25 ——-
- Golf outing will be held at Briarwood Golf Course in Broadview Heights. First tee time 9:00. Lunch at the turn included followed by reception open to all alumni golfers or not at 2:30. Flyer is here: CSU Golf Outing 2015 Flyer. Cost: $66 for golf, lunch and reception dinner. Please REGISTER for the Golf Outing on the CSU Homecoming Website. If questions email: firstname.lastname@example.org
- Reception following Golf Outing is OPEN TO ALL ALUMNI. Please join us. Golfers will be filtering in around 2:30. Followed by dinner buffet at 3:30. Curtain call for Spash Bashers at 5:30, others welcome to meet in another local Broadview Heights social mecca. Please email: email@example.com if you are interested
- —— Saturday 9/26 ———–
- Splash Bash warmup at 7:30 with first event at 8:00. Forms are here: CLEVELAND STATE SPLASH BASH 2015 Registration Forms. Please send completed registration forms with your entry fee to Paul Graham firstname.lastname@example.org
- Heritage Graphics Dedication at 10:30. Please join Dr. Berkman and our team as we celebrate the successful completion of the Champions Campaign.
- Team/Parent/Alumni BBQ will take place on the lawn outside of the PE Building at 1:30. Another great alumni opportunity to meet the 2015-16 team and coaches. BBQ is free to students and parents, $10 for alumni. Please REGISTER for the Kick-off BBQ on the CSU Homecoming Website.
- Team-Parent-Alumni photos. Even if you can’t make the BBQ lunch no reason you can’t stop by for dessert and some “teamship” time. Around 2:30-ish
- Want to join fellow swim/dive alums for dinner email: email@example.com for the details (which will be worked out following the BBQ)
WOW ! So many opportunities to cap off a tremendous year for all CSU Swimming and Diving Friends and Alumni. Hope to see you at one or all of the events.
QUESTIONS? SUGGESTIONS? Please email firstname.lastname@example.org
Wally Morton ’74-’14, Dave Guinther ’69, Tom Fattlar ‘74;’81-’84, Jim Starrett ’74, Jim Smith ’78, Joe Stockwell ’81 and Mike Lehto ’94-’07
The Heritage Project Concept Graphics are now reality. Last week the Coach Banners, Diver and Swimmer Banners and Ninth Lane Banners were installed.
South Tunnel Graphics are released for production. Heritage Corner Graphics will be released Tuesday Morning after a few edits (If you want a close up view to check the spelling on your name you can download this .pdf file: heritage_corner_preflight. By the way we are aware of four typos – you see any other typos please send an email to the Heritage Committee ASAP: email@example.com
Other graphics including Community Corner and Timeline Wall will follow shortly. Huge kudos to Flying Hand Design and Repros, Inc. from CSU and Fenn College Swimmers, Divers and friends worldwide for helping us make this a reality.
We have a few more surprises as well so stay tuned. Hint: Think “Outside the pool”.
Many events planned for Heritage Weekend 2015 including morning golf outing and late afternoon warm-up reception on Friday 9/25. Saturday 9/26 will feature the annual Splash Bash, Official Dedication and first-annual Team/Parent/Alumni kick-off BBQ. Registration events will be posted shortly.
Below are pictures and videos from week of August 10.
First two time-lapse videos:
Banners laid out on the lawn prior to installation.
Ninth Lane Banners were installed on Friday.
North and West wall banners went up earlier in the week. Pretty close to the original concept graphics previewed last September at the Wally Roast and Reception.
Thanks, and don’t forget to mark your calendars for Heritage Weekend Friday and Saturday September 25/26.
Thank you for your support,
Wally Morton ’74-’14, Dave Guinther ’69, Tom Fattlar ‘74;’81-’84, Jim Starrett ’74, Jim Smith ’78, Joe Stockwell ’81 and Mike Lehto ’94-’07