Cleveland State men’s swimming and diving team overcome COVID challenges to place second at HLSD Championships

By: August Vullo

The Robert F. Busby Natatorium is home to the men’s and women’s swimming and diving team, Photo from: https://www.csuvikings.com/landing/index

The Cleveland State University men’s swimming and diving team finished second in the Horizon League Swimming and Diving Championships with 718.5 points. “The Cauldron” was able to interview swimmer Griffin Manning to discuss the championships and the overall season. 

Manning described placing second as a great experience but noted that they are looking to go for that number one spot next year. With COVID-19 challenges, the swim team has preserved, but not without setbacks. 

Griffin contracted COVID-19 earlier this year, but did not let it get him down as he and his team stepped up to the plate and continued communication with each other via online meetings. Manning said the team set goals to achieve during those meetings. 

Despite COVID-19 not affecting his morale, Manning said it had somewhat of an effect on his performance. However, he said that every team has had athletes that have contracted COVID-19 and it affects everyone the same way. This still has put a chip on his shoulder and he will work to get better for next season. 

Manning’s teammate, Bob Fick was named Horizon League Freshman of the Year. Manning described Fick as someone who, “cares a lot about the sport always finding ways to get better.” 

When asked if coaching was an enormous influence on the team this season, Manning said that “they (the coaches) are all so great.” He continued saying that Head Coach Hannah Burandt’s “communication skills are high.” And that she “always wants to be involved and we learn many things from her.” 

Assistant Coach Pieter Ritz was described as “the guy you can talk to the most…He will talk to you about anything.” Manning also commented that Assistant Coach Ben Colley “is laid back, and he shows great emotion which lets the swim team know that he cares.” 

Griffin gave the women’s team high praise as well. They were down a couple of swimmers and still finished fifth, which is impressive Griffin says. He also said that they were a huge inspiration for the men’s team. Hopefully, both teams have a great season next year.

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