Swimming & diving recap: Rams capture first win of the season against UNC, 145-98

Jan. 30, 2013

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FORT COLLINS, Colo.
—The Rams rumbled Moby Pool Wednesday with cheers over their first win of the 2012-13 season against Northern Colorado, 145-98. The win was extra sweet in conjunction with the celebration of Senior Night. The 10 graduating seniors were honored for their outstanding achievements during their years as Rams. CSU’s head-to-head season is not over yet as Air Force waits for the Rams in only three days Saturday, Feb. 2.

From the first splash in the pool the Rams were ready to bring the heat. Anchored by senior Breann Fuller, the Rams easily took first in the 200 Medley Relay. Senior Mary Foster then continued the Rams’ momentum with a win in the 100 Freestyle. Yana Garvey then cinched the third-straight first-place finish in the 200 Free, edging out UNC’s Erika Etz by 12 hundredths of a second.

“Considering the point in the season we’re at—the heavy training and weight lifting—I was pretty impressed with some of the swims,” Head Coach Christopher Woodard said. “They’re not time wise where we want to be, but there was definitely a lot of fight. So it was good.”

The Rams maintained the lead they set with the 200 Medley Relay for the entirety of the meet. Senior Arianne Lujan was unbeatable in the three events she swam in. After winning the 200 Medley Relay, Lujan claimed first in the 200 IM and the 200 Butterfly.

The Rams were especially impressive on the boards. Ariana Milone proved she’s back from the hand injury that took her out from competition for 11 weeks with a convincing win in 3-Meter Diving. Milone climbed 15.53 points ahead of UNC’s second-place finisher Sara Moldenhauer.

Mary Kate Hardy punctuated CSU’s sweep of the diving events with her win on the 1-Meter boards. Milone followed Hardy into second place with 248.50 points.

Fuller broadened the lead with her wins in the 200 Backstroke and 200 Free Relay. In her five years as a Ram, Fuller has made huge contributions to the swimming team as a talented athlete, record holder and humble leader. In her final night competing in Moby Pool, Fuller continued to prove why she is CSU’s top athlete.

“Tonight was an exciting night for all of us,” Fuller said. “It was good to get the win, but it felt especially good for the seniors. Hopefully this will give us some momentum for the final couple weeks of the season. These last five years at CSU have been incredible. I can’t say enough about my experience.”

Wednesday also marked the final swims in Moby Pool for seniors: Tara DeMuth, Tasia DeMuth, Foster, Fuller, Chelea Kelly, Lujan, Kelly Mathews, Madeline Mitchell, Shelley Perkins and Lydia Templin.

“Even though I’ve only had them for a year-and-a-half, I’ve grown pretty attached to them pretty quick,” Woodard said. “They had to come in half way through their collegiate career and basically everything was really turned upside-down. We asked them to buy in and do a bunch of things that they might not have been comfortable doing and they responded really well. I hope to have a bond with them long after graduation.”

The seniors still have one more opportunity to swim in a dual meet before the season is out. The Rams have a quick turnaround to their final meet against Air Force Saturday in Colorado Springs at the Cadet Natatorium at 1 p.m. MT.

“It’s always tough to go down to the Springs and swim at 7,200 feet,” Woodard said. “That being said, it doesn’t really matter. It’s a 16-event format so we’re going to have all our kids having every opportunity to swim those last prep sessions before we go to conference. I’m looking forward to it.”

While the Rams are facing the Falcons Saturday, they have their ultimate challenge of the season in the horizon. The Mountain West Championships will be the final test of this season’s talent. In San Antonio, Texas, the Rams will battle their most fierce conference rivals from Feb. 20-23. CSU has proven itself to be a strong taper team this season, and with the adequate time to train and recover, they should offer a few pleasant surprises to Ram fans.

“Our goal early in the year was to be in the top five and we’ve lost a lot of kids–unfortunately—along the way to injury, illness or other factors,” Woodard said. “It’s definitely depleted the top end and our depth, but I’m confident enough in what I’ve got that I still think we can challenge for the top five. So I’m eager to fly out to San Antonio.”