COLLEGE STATION, Texas -- Whether it was the electric atmosphere, the cheers of former President George H.W. and former first lady Barbara Bush or his own goal of becoming an All-American, the third time was a charm for Cleveland State junior Jakub Dobies.
Dobies made his third appearance at the NCAA Division I Men's Swimming Championships on March 27, finishing off the 100 breast with a 13th place finish and the first All-America honor for both a Viking and Horizon League swimmer. He swam a 53.13 in the consolation final to finish in the nation's Top 16, earning All-America status for the first time in his career, and solidifying his spot among the nation's best breaststrokers.
"Jakub did a great job of focusing on what he wanted to do," head coach Wally Morton said. "He's had some shoulder pain in the last few weeks, but he worked through the adversity and never used that as an excuse not to swim fast. It was just another one of the factors he needed to overcome to become an All-American, and he did it."
"He got off to a great start, was leading after the first 25 yards, and was right in there among the leaders at the halfway point. In the end, he improved his time from this morning by a tenth of a second and we're very pleased with that. Jakub has already told me he'll be back in the finals next year. He wants to come back and keep improving like he's done every year."
Dobies' career best in the 100 breast came during the 2009 Horizon League Championships when he set both a CSU and league record by winning his third straight title in 52.94. That time ranked him 14th nationally entering the NCAA Championship field and his NCAA preliminary swim of 53.23 was the 12th fastest time in the early heats.
"I got what I came here for so I'm pretty excited," Dobies, who also got a handshake from the former President after the race, said. "You just go out and give it all you have because everyone out there has two arms and two legs just like you. We all have an equal chance. Now I can just put my bar a little higher to reach another point in my career and get better next year."
A native of Plock, Poland, Dobies is the only swimmer in league history to make the trip to the NCAA Championships since the conference adopted the Horizon League name in 2001. With his third straight league title in the 100 breast last month, he also became just the sixth Viking to win the same event three times in his career.
"It's all hard work, focused training and the support of my coaches and teammates," Dobies said.
Morton agreed, giving credit to both assistant coach Andrew Hancock as well as Dobies' CSU teammates who "have allowed to him train in a way he can improve every year."
As a freshman, Dobies became the first Viking swimmer since Harold Wagner in 1986 to qualify for nationals. He followed that up with invitations in both the 100 and 200 breast as a sophomore when he set new CSU records in both events and was named a Mid-Major All-American by collegeswimming.com. During his sophomore campaign, Dobies entered the 100 breast seeded 13th (53.64) and finished 22nd in 54.00. His time of 2:00.43 in the 200 breast was good enough for a 38th seed and his finals time of 2:07.45 in the 200 breast finals placed him 35th overall. Dobies was also seeded 13th as a freshman going into the 2007 national championship meet (53.77), eventually placing 28th overall (54.39) in the event.
Release courtesy of Cleveland State Sports Information Assistant Julie Farr DeLima