Senior Zach Toothman has officially committed to continue his academic and swimming career at Case Western Reserve University in the fall. The future Spartan joins an elite group at Case Western that competes in the University Athletic Association in Division III. Case Western is a top competitor with many All-American swimmers that compete at a high level in the NCAA Championships.
“The biggest thing Case provided me was their academics in their chemical engineering department,” says Toothman. “The location and collaboration that Case offers were very appealing when making the decision.”
Toothman will be coached by Doug Milliken, who enters his twelfth season as the Head Swimming and Diving Coach at Case Western. Toothman notes that coach Miliken helped a significant amount with making his decision to commit. “It was a very tough decision,” says Toothman. “Coach Miliken at Case was very supportive as he was open to calling, text or zoom.”
Along with a great athletics program, Case Western offers exceptional academics that made the decision a bit easier for Toothman when deciding on a college. “I was able to see the full package that Case Western offers,” explains Toothman. “The combination of academics and athletics is what jumped out to me.”
Toothman was a part of a Saint Ignatius team that made program history this year as they won their second straight District Championship back in February, a first in program history. “It was very special,” says Toothman. “The biggest takeaway is that we’ve made a name for swimming at Saint Ignatius going back-to-back.”
With all sports, there was the obstacle of going through a pandemic season. With the swimming and diving program it was a bit difficult as the team was split into two for practices during the year. “The biggest obstacle was the split practices,” explains Toothman. “I was a part of the Fairview Site and not having your racing and relay mates with you made it hard to train, but we made it work on Saturday practices and compete with each other to help for meets.”
The seniors for Saint Ignatius swimming and diving have created a team culture that has become an elite program. “Without that team culture that is on the team, we couldn’t have gone that far,” says Toothman.
“Character-wise, Zach has always shown a drive and desire to be successful in the pool and the classroom,” says first-year Head Swimming Coach Eric Dennis.
With his decision set for Case Western, the excitement level is sky high for the future Spartan. “I think it’s incredible,” says Toothman. “The conference that Case is in is the UAA’s, one of the most competitive division III conferences, being able to compete at that level, just brings more motivation to me to apply to the Case Western team.”
“I am very excited for Zach next year at the college level,” says Dennis. “He has always set and maintained high goals for himself, which I cannot wait to see what he achieves at Case Western.”
Toothman, similar to his senior peers, has left a lasting legacy for Saint Ignatius swimming and diving as the program has become a true powerhouse in the North West District. Good luck to Zach as he continues at Case Western Reserve in the Fall!