Swimming & diving recap: CSU breaks school record, Day 1 of MW Championships

Feb. 20, 2013

SAN ANTONIO, Texas—In the first night swim of the 2013 Swimming & diving Mountain West Championships at the Palo Alto Aquatics Center, the Rams set a school record in the 200 Medley Relay that had been untouched since 2011. CSU finished the night with solid swims, but with room for improvement in eighth place.

“We had a good start with quality racing across the board,” Head Coach Christopher Woodard said. “There were even some NCAA-automatic cuts in the pool. Stakes are always high at this meet, but I hope it really charges the team up to be racing in such a fast pool, with fast teams; and we’re going to be one of them.”

The 200 Medley Relay brought together CSU’s fastest athletes in the backstroke, breaststroke, butterfly and freestyle events. Freshman Jessica Shepard led off the team with the backstroke sprint, and was followed by Kelly Mathews in the breaststroke, Arianne Lujan in the butterfly and Breann Fuller in the freestyle. Senior Breann Fuller hit the pool with a ferocity that led to the fastest freestyle sprint of her career. The relay team set the record at 1:41.17 and finished sixth in the event.

“It was a good start,” Woodard said. “We made some changes and felt pretty confident with Jess in the front and then we could move Breann to the back. They swam well and got the school record. I think all four of them had their best relay splits ever.”

The team skimmed time off the previous-school record of 1:41.25 that was earned at the 2011 Championships by a familiar team of Fuller, Mathews, Lujan and now-graduate Tess Simpson.

Freshman Ariana Milone had a solid first appearance at the Championships in the 1-meter diving event. The San Diego, Calif. native had strong dives in the morning prelims and qualified for the finals where she improved her score by almost 10 points and finished 10th in the event.  

“Milone had a strong performance in the 1-meter event. I hope that the diving team follows up with a very strong showing on 3-meter boards and platform,” Woodard said.

The 800 Freestyle Relay ended the night with Tess Simpson, Lujan, Yana Garvey and Mary Foster making up the team. The Rams swam into ninth place with their fastest time of the season (7:34.83) by over a full second.

Finishing the night in eighth place with 51 points, the Rams have even more of a challenge to achieve their season-long goal to prove they are a top-five team in the conference. CSU will have to outperform University of New Mexico, University of Nevada and Fresno State, and make up a 30-point gap, to realize their top-five goal. But with only three events under their belt, the Rams will have many opportunities to make significant gains on their opponents in the next three days of the Championships.

The Rams will have a fuller day of competition Thursday. Events will include: 500 Freestyle, 200 Individual Medley, 50-Freestyle, 3-meter diving and the 400 Medley Relay. The highlight for the team should be Fuller in the 50 Freestyle. The senior backstroker stepped into the sprint-freestyle events this season and has excelled. The senior holds the top times on the team in the 50, 100 and 200 Freestyle. Her season-top time sets her at 24 in the conference, but Head Coach Woodard is confident Fuller has the ability to be a top contender.

“Out of her events, it’s hard to say it’s the weakest, because it’s a very strong third event,” Woodard said. “I think it’s nice for her to swim freestyle, because sometimes it’s good to get a break from backstroke and just sprint really fast across the pool. I expect she’ll show up and be in strong competition for a top-eight finish.”

Live results, team scores, photo galleries and more information from the meet will be available through the MW Championship Central page. Fans also can follow #MWSD13 or @TheMWCOlySports on Twitter for updates throughout the week. CSU (@CSUswimming) will also be tweeting results and updates from San Antonio.