Multiple Vikings participate in their final collegiate swimming event

By Briana Oldham

The Cleveland State University men’s and women’s swimming and diving teams competed in the Horizon League Championships that took place Feb. 21 through 24. The Vikings hosted the event in the Robert F. Busbey Natatorium.

Senior Jonathan LaValle participated in his last collegiate event in these championships.

This year, LaValle swam the backstroke leg of the 200-meter medley relay and swam the 100 and 200-meter backstroke individual, as well as the 100-meter butterfly.

LaValle recalls his best time in the 100-meter backstroke as being 49.1 seconds. For someone who has been sidelined for most of the season, he placed among the best in the event. The relay team he was on took second in the league and he placed in the top 8 in his two backstroke events.

Instead of continuing to swim postcollege, he would like to participate in an upcoming triathlon. He is going to be training this summer, and if he places in the top 8 in his age group, he will qualify to represent the U.S. team.

On the women’s side, senior Jamie VanDewerker swims in both individual and relay events. Her individual events are the 50-meter freestyle, 100-meter freestyle and the 100-meter backstroke. She swims freestyle on the 200-meter medley relay, backstroke on the 400-meter medley relay and she is also on the 200 and 400-meter freestyle relays.

VanDewerker also competed in her last Horizon League conference meet.

“I placed in the top five in every event that I swam. I was also a member of the 200-medley relay and 400-medley relay both of which broke school records,” VanDewerker said. “The most exciting swim for me was the 100-yard backstroke where I swam a lifetime best time, placed third and broke the school record that I had been trying to break for two years.”

VanDewerker is happy with her teammates’ performances.

“I am so proud of how amazing our team performed. We placed third overall and were only seven points out of second place,” VanDewerker said.  “Throughout the meet, the women supported each other enjoyed every second of competing at our own pool.”