Golden Grizzlies One Step Closer to Achieving Their Goal

The Oakland University men’s and women’s swimming and diving teams are much closer to achieving their goal of becoming a top 30 team in the country. Both squads won their third straight Mid-Continent Conference Championship title en route to placing in the top three at the National Independent Conference Championships. The women’s squad won the national event as the Golden Grizzlies placed first with 746 points, while the men nabbed third place with 558 points.

Oakland still remains a powerhouse in the Mid-Con as OU took most of the conference honors. On the men's side senior Marc Gray was named the Men's Mid-Con Swimmer of the Year and teammate Chris Gawronski was named Men's Diver of the Year. On the women's side Oakland ran away with all the awards as freshman Tara Berringer was named Newcomer of the Year. Kingston, Jamaica native Tamara Swaby was named the Women's Swimmer of the Year for a second straight time. Senior Devon Cunningham was named the Women's Diver of the Year, while head coach Pete Hovland netted his second straight Mid-Con coach of the Year.

Oakland began the season on the road as the Golden Grizzlies participated in the Bowling Green Relays (10/19). The women's program recorded eight top three finishes in ten of the evening's women's relays. Oakland finished first in the 300 backstroke (2:59.00), 200 freestyle (1:37.28) and 400 freestyle (3:33.73), second in the 200 medley (1:49.34), 300 butterfly (2:55.63) and 400 medley (3:57.39) and third in the 800 freestyle (7:52.94) and 1,500 freestyle (15:50.45).

The men's team claimed eight spots in the top four. OU finished second in the 1,500 freestyle (14:26.21) and 400 freesyle (3:10.19) relays, third in the 800 freestyle (7:06.56) and 200 freestyle (1:26.77) relays, and fourth in the 200 medley (1:38.26), 300 backstroke (2:45.85), 300 breaststroke (3:05.28) and 400 medley (3:36.35) relays.

The women started the dual season as the Grizzlies hosted the Spartans of Michigan State (10/24) at the OU Aquatic Center. Oakland lost to the Spartans by the final score of 137-98. Finishing in first place for the Golden Grizzlies were sophomores Shelly Aurit, Strelets and Tanya Korniyenko. Oakland's first top finish came in the 50 yard freestyle as Strelets finished first with a time of 57.25. The Golden Grizzlies second top finish came in the 100 yard butterfly as Korniyenko finished first with a time of 57.25. Strelets finished first in the 100 yard freestyle for her second top finish of the night. The Kazakhstan native recorded a top time of 51.72. Oakland's last top finish of the night came in the 100 yard breaststroke as Aurit finished first with a time of 1:06.96.

November 3 was the first time of the year that both squads participated in a dual meet as the Grizzlies hosted Wright State. Leading the women's team in top finishes were the Kazakhstan natives, Strelets and Korniyenko, each with two first place finishes. Strelets recorded her top finish in the 200 free with a top time of 1:55.23, while her second top finish came in the 100 free with a time of 51.57. Korniyenko finished first in the 200 IM and the 200 butterfly with times of 2:10.81 and 2:07.85 respectively. Also notching first place finishes for the Grizzlies were Angela Simetkosky, Danielle Ward, Berringer and Aurit. For the men freshman Tim Johnson recorded two top finishes for the Grizzlies in the loss. Johnson's first top finish came in the 200 freestyle as he recorded a 1:41.58. Johnson's second top finish came in the 500 yard freestyle with a time of 4:41.85.

On November 9 the men's and women's swimming teams hosted the University of Toledo at the OU Aquatic Center. The women's team defeated the Rockets 130-111, while the men lost 140-101. The women's team recorded six first place finishes and finished first in both relay events. Leading OU individually was Strelets finishing with two first place finishes. The sophomore's first top finish came in the 50 free with a time of 23.84. Her second top finish came in the 100 yard freestyle with a time of 50.01. Senior Cunningham won both the one and three meter diving competitions with 244.50 and 265.13 points respectively. Leading the men in the loss were seniors Andy Schmit and Mark Quinn and freshman Johnson and Sullivan. Schmit notched Oakland's first top finish as he won the 1000 yard freestyle with a time of 9:50.14, while Quinn finished first in the 200 breast with a time of 2:06.69. Johnson finished first in the 200 yard freestyle with a 23.84, while fellow freshman Sullivan placed first in the 50 free with a season top time of 20.94.

While most of the Oakland University swimming and diving team was in Indianapolis, Indiana defending its Mid-Continent Conference Championship, a select few journeyed to East Meadow, New York to swim in the U.S. Open. The Golden Grizzlies were looking to introduce the world to Oakland University swimming. The U.S. Open is one of the fastest meets in the world with participants coming from Australia, Canada, France, Brazil and South Africa, along with top U.S swimmers and countless Olympic Gold Medal winners. The meet was in short course meters. Participating in the meet for the men's team were seniors Quinn and Dave Hartzel, sophomore Sean Broadbent and freshmen Sullivan and Johnson, and on the women's side were sophomores Strelets and Korniyenko.

Oakland's biggest surprise came in the prelims of the 200 breaststroke as Quinn qualified for first place with a time of 2:15.49 as he beat out the world record holder in the 100 and 200 breaststroke and Olympic Gold Medalist, Glenn Moses. However, Moses would not fall in defeat again, in the finals as the Maryland native claimed first place with a 2:10.86, Quinn came in fourth place with a 2:16.11. Quinn also swam in the 100 breast and came in 18th place with a 1:04.38 (1:04.55). Hartzel finished in eighth place in the 200 back with a time of 2:02.56 (2:01.90) and finished 23rd in the 200 freestyle with a time of 1:53.42 (1:52.66). Broadbent finished seventh in the 50 and 100 free with times of 23.01 (23.10) and 50.75 (50.44) respectively. Sullivan swam the 50 freestyle in 22.99 (23.47) good for 17th place and also swam the 100 free as he finished 31st with a time of 51.80 (51.80). Johnson placed 12th in the 50 free as he recorded a time of 23.24 (23.19). The Windsor, Ontario native made the NCAA B standard time as he finished sixth in the 200 free with a time of 1:50.38 (1:50.58). Johnson also finished sixth in the 100 free with a time of 50.61 (50.53). The team of Broadbent, Sullivan, Johnson and Hartzel finished in fourth place in the 400 freestyle relay with a time of 3:24.41.

On the women's side Strelets recorded a 25.95 (26.01) which was good for a NCAA B standard time in the 50 free in which she placed seventh. The Kazakhstan native finished 19th in the 100 free with a time of 57.22 (57.34). Fellow Kazakhstan native Korniyenko finished in 13th place in the 100 fly as she recorded a NCAA B standard time with a time of 1:02.37 (1:02.38).

Korniyenko tallied another NCAA B standard time in the 200 fly as she recorded a 2:16.93 (2:16.93). "I am real excited," said head coach Pete Hovland. "I thought the team we sent to the U.S. Open did a great job of representing Oakland University and how far OU has come."

Both the men's and women's teams lost to Eastern Michigan 137-95 and 119-118 Saturday, January 26 in Ypsilanti. Individually for the men's team was freshman Sullivan as he led the way for OU with two first place finishes as he was first in the 50 free (20.66) and 100 yard freestyle (46.45). Talling one first place finish for the Grizzlies were seniors Hartzel and Quinn along with freshman Tim Johnson. Hartzel claimed first in the 200 back with a time of 1:51.88, while fellow senior Quinn was first in the 200 breaststroke with a time of 2:05.56. Johnson tallied OU's first top finish as he was first in the 200 freestyle with a time of 1:41.55.

Leading the women's squad was Mid-Continent Conference Female Swimmer of the Week, Ward as she recorded two top finishes as she was first in the 1000 freestyle (10:20.52) and the 500 freestyle with a time of 5:04.78. Collecting one top finish for the Golden Grizzlies were sophomores Korniyenko, Strelets, Aurit and freshman Berringer. Korniyenko was first in the 200 butterfly with a time of 2:04.29, while fellow Kazakhstan native Strelets recorded a 52.67 in the 100 free. Aurit was first in the 200 breaststroke with a time of 2:22.18, while Berringer claimed first in the 200 back (2:10.18).

On December 6-8 the men’s and women’s teams participated in the Notre Dame Invitational in South Bend, Indiana. The men finished in second place with 1,862.50 points, while the women's team finished in third with 957 points. Individually for the men senior Dave Hartzel claimed first place in the 200 yard backstroke as he recorded a 1:48.79. Quinn recorded a 2:01.80 as he finished in first place. OU took the top three finishes in the 100 freestyle as Johnson was first with a 45.28, while Broadbent claimed second with a 45.33 and finishing in third was Sulivan with a time of 45.45. Oakland also took third, fourth and fifth place in the 200 fly as senior Marc Gray was third with a 1:53.94, Blaine Dolcetti was fourth with a 1:54.71 and senior Colin Dolcetti was fifth with a 1:56.40. Individualy for the women Strelets was first in the 100 free with a time of 50.43, while fellow sophomore Korniyenko was first with a 2:02.25 in the 200 butterfly. Her time broke her own school record of 2:02.75 and was good enough far an NCAA B Standard qualifying time. OU finished first in the 400 frestyle relay as the team of Strelets, Christina Moceri, Swaby and Ward with a time of 3:27.25.

Oakland traveled to Nassau, Bahamas for it’s annual Christmas training trip, December 27-January 7. While in the Bahamas the Grizzlies swam against New Hampshire and Missouri-Rolla on January 6, 2002. The women's team defeated New Hampshire 42-26, while the men defeated Missouri-Rolla 44-24 and downed New Hampshire 43-25 and 50-27. The meet was in short course meters.

First place finishes for the women were Simetkosky, Strelets, Korniyenko and Aurit. Simetkosky notched OU's first top finish as she finished first in the 400 freestyle with a time of 4:43.90, while Strelets recorded OU's second top finish as she was first in the 50 free with a time of 27.03. Korniyenko was the only Grizzly to record two first place finishes as she was first in the 200 IM and the 50 butterfly with times of 2:32.80 and 30.47 respectively. Rounding out OU's first place finishers was Aurit as she was first in the 50 breaststroke with a time of 35.91.

First place finishers for the men include Hartzel and Quinn as they each tallied two first places finishes along with Tony Smucler, Joel Wallace, Doug Drazin and Sullivan who each tallied one top finish. Hartzel finished first in the 400 freestyle with a time of 4:17.23 and first in the 50 backstroke with a 29.54, while Quinn placed first in the 50 breaststroke (31.36) and the 200 IM (2:20.48). Smucler notched OU's first top finish on the men's side as he was first in the 400 free with a time of 4:39.04. Wallace and Drazin both placed first in the 50 free as they both finished with a 25.01 and rounding out the top finishes for the men was Sullivan as he finished first in the 50 free (24.39).

Both the men's and women's swimming and diving teams traveled to Kenyon College Friday, January 11 and defeated KC 130-93 and 137-94, respectively. Leading the men's squad was freshmen Johnson and Sullivan each with two first place finishes. Johnson finished first in the 200 free (1:42.22) and first in the 500 free (4:41.69), while Sullivan placed first in the 50 free (21.17) and 100 yard freestyle with a time of 46.90. Rounding out OU's first place finishers was Quinn as he placed first in the 200 yard breaststroke with a time of 2:06.26.

Individually for the women Ward, Korniyenko and Strelets notched two first place finishes. Ward recorded OU's first top finish as she finished the 200 free with a time of 1:55.51. Ward's second top finish came in the 500 free as she finished with a time of 5:09.66. Korniyenko collected first place finishes in the 200 IM (2:10.88) and the 200 butterfly (2:06.12), while fellow sophomore Strelets recorded top finishes in the 50 free (24.32) and the 100 free (53.09).

Rounding out the top finishes on the women's squad was Shelley Aurit as she was first in the 200 breaststroke with a time of 2:25.21.

The Golden Grizzlies returned home to battle Michigan State in the first home meet of the new year, Friday, January 18. OU was defeated by Michigan State 136-105, in the OU Aquatics Center. Leading the Golden Grizzlies individually was Broadbent as he recorded two first place finishes for OU. The Windsor, Ontario native collected OU's first top finish as he placed first in the 50 freestyle with a time of 21.00. Broadbent's second top finish was in the 100 free as he finished with a time of 46.33. Also claiming top finishes for OU was Hartzel and Quinn. Hartzel came in first in the 200 backstroke with a time of 1:53.57, while Quinn was first in the 200 breaststroke with a time of 2:05.71. Michigan State's Nick Visscher broke an Oakland University pool record as he came in first in the one-meter diving with 328.72 points.

The women's swimming and diving team was defeated by Miami (Ohio) 178-118 Friday, January 18, in Oxford, Ohio. Leading OU individually was Strelets and Korniyenko as they both recorded two first place finishes. Strelets collected OU's first top finish as she placed first in the 100 backstroke with a time of 58.73. Strelets second top finish came in the 100 freestyle as she recorded a time of 51.83, while fellow sophomore Korniyenko placed first in the 100 and 200 butterfly with times of 57.09 and 2:04.01 respectively.

The men’s squad traveled back to South Bend, Indiana this time for a dual meet against the Irish. Notre Dame defeated Oakland by the final of 162.50-133.50. Oakland opened the meet strong as the team of Can Kulduk, Quinn, Sullivan and Broadbent finished in first place in the 200 yard medley relay with a time of 1:34.97. The Grizzlies won the meets second relay event, the 200 yard freestyle relay as OU recorded a top time of 1:24.72 but it was enough as the Irish held onto the lead and ended up winning the meet 162.50-133.50.

Leading the Golden Grizzlies individually was Quinn as he tallied two top finishes. The Skipton, Yorkshire, England native provided the Grizzlies second top finish as he was first in the 100 breaststroke with time of 59.06 and also was first in the 200 breast with a time of 2:07.18. Johnson, Sullivan, Broadbent and Hartzel all tallied one first place finish for the Golden Grizzlies. Johnson recorded OU's first top finish as he placed first in the 200 yard freestyle with a time of 1:41.51. Sullivan collected the squads third top finish as he recorded 20.99 in the 50 free, while Broadbent was first in the 100 free with a time of 46.67. Hartzel rounded out OU's first place finishers as he was first in the 200 backstroke with a time of 1:52.93.

Both the teams traveled to Ypsilanti as this meet was the last time of the year thta both squads would participate in a dual meet. The Grizzlies lost to Eastern Michigan 137-95 and 119-118 Saturday, January 26 in Ypsilanti. Individually for the men's team was freshman Sullivan as he led the way for OU with two first place finishes as he was first in the 50 free (20.66) and 100 yard freestyle (46.45). Talling one first place finish for the Grizzlies were seniors Hartzel and Quinn along with freshman Johnson. Hartzel claimed first in the 200 back with a time of 1:51.88, while fellow senior Quinn was first in the 200 breaststroke with a time of 2:05.56. Johnson tallied OU's first top finish as he was first in the 200 freestyle with a time of 1:41.55.

Leading the women's squad was Mid-Continent Conference Female Swimmer of the Week, Ward as she recorded two top finishes as she was first in the 1000 freestyle (10:20.52) and the 500 freestyle with a time of 5:04.78. Collecting one top finish for the Golden Grizzlies were sophomores Korniyenko, Strelets, Aurit and freshman Berringer. Korniyenko was first in the 200 butterfly with a time of 2:04.29, while fellow Kazakhstan native Strelets recorded a 52.67 in the 100 free. Aurit was first in the 200 breaststroke with a time of 2:22.18, while Berringer claimed first in the 200 back (2:10.18).

The women’s squad came home to host their final dual meet of the season against St. Bonaventure, Friday, February 1. OU claimed first place in 12 of the 13 events to post the 141-94 victory over the Bonnies of St. Bonaventure University on Friday, February 1. The Golden Grizzlies improve to 4-2 in the dual season in 2001-02.

Oakland's team of Renie Green, Aurit, Korniyenko and Swaby in the 200 medley relay claimed first place to open the meet in a time of 1:48.45. The only race that the Golden Grizzlies didn't place was the 200 free relay as the OU relay teams all exhibitioned. Cunningham claimed first place on both the boards scoring 252.22 on the one-meter and 258.07 on the three. St. Bonaventure finished second, third and fourth in both one and three-meter diving. Swaby, Strelets and Ward all claimed two first-place finishes. Swaby won the 50 free in 24:51 and the 200 fly in 2:09.92. Strelets claimed first place in the 200 free (1:53.49) and the 200 back (2:07.97), while Ward touched first in the 1,650 free (17:36.06) and the 100 free (53.68). Three sophomores also claimed the top spots in the 400 IM, 200 free and 500 free. Korniyenko won the 400-meter individual medley for Oakland in 4:33.42 and Simetkosky claimed first place in the 500 free in 5:08.98.while Aurit won the 200 free in 2:25.62.

The Golden Grizzlies hosted the 2002 National Independent Conference Championship, February 28 - March 2. This was the second consecutive time that Oakland hosted the three-day national event. During the NIC’s the Golden Grizzlies shattered five school records. Leading the way for the men was Sullivan as he was the first male swimmer at Oakland to brake the 20 second mark as he recorded a 19.96 in the 50 yard freestyle. The team of Sullivan, Drazin, Johnson and Broadbent set a new school record as they recorded a 1:19.77 in the 20 freestyle relay. Oakland's third school record came in the 400 freestyle relay as Johnson, Hartzel, Sullivan and Broadbent recorded a 2:57.88. The same team broke the school record ealier this year as they swam a 2:58.09 at the Notre Dame Invitational.

For the women's squad Korniyenko and Strelets each broke a school record. Korniyenko broke the school record in the 200 fly as she finished with a time of 2:02.25. Strelets shattered the 50 freestyle record as she became the first female swimmer at Oakland to brake the 23 second barrier as she tallied a 22.99.

As the NIC’s drew a close to the Grizzlies season OU sent to swimmers to the NCAA Swimming and Diving Championship. For the first time at the Division I level the Golden Grizzlies sent a representative from both the men’s and women’s team to the NCAA Championship. On the women’s side Oksana Strelets participated in the 50 and 100 yard freestyle events in Austin, Texas. In the 50 free Strelets finished 19th in the preliminaries with a time of 23.07. The Kazakhstan native broke the Oakland University school record beating Nancy Schermer's 14 year old record time of 50.37 in the 100 free. Representing OU on the men’s side was Chris Sullivan. The freshman freestyler participated in the 50 and 100 freestyles at the NCAA Championships in Athens, Georgia. The Rockford native swam a 20.04 which was just two tenths away from qualifing for the 50 yard freestyle final. Sullivan finished the 100 free with a time of 44.85 missing the 44.07 needed to make the 100 yard free final.

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