Swimming & diving recap: CSU finishes seventh at MW Championships

Feb. 23, 2013

SAN ANTONIO, Texas— The Rams finished seventh in the final day of the Mountain West Championships. Two new times now mark the CSU record books. Senior Breann Fuller and Freshman Erica Stock smashed previous-school records in the 200 Backstroke and 200 Breaststroke respectively. Fuller also received the Senior Recognition Award for her captivating career as a CSU Ram in and out of the pool.

"We picked up where we left off yesterday,” Head Coach Christopher Woodard said. “There were some missed opportunities here and there, but for the most part we capitalized where we could. The energy was high, which is very hard on the last day, and I think we came out with many more smiles.”

The historic day began with Fuller’s MW-record breaking performance in the 200 Backstroke preliminaries.  The time will be hard to beat as Fuller (1:54.40) flew past University of Las Vegas’ Ana Dangalakova’s previous All-time MW record of 1:55.94. Fuller’s time surpassed her own school record (1:56.01), which was set at the 2011 Championships, by over a second-and-half. The time made very high NCAA-B qualifiers. Fuller finished third in the finals, earning CSU necessary points.

“Both of Breann’s performances in the 200 backs were great, but this morning’s was an inspired swim. It was absolutely what we knew she was capable of. She swam an almost textbook swim. Both were great swims and should get her to NCAA’s.” Woodard said.

Fuller was also honored with the Senior Recognition Award. She was chosen by a vote of the league’s coaches for her accomplishments as an athlete and student. To name a few achievements: she holds four school records, made the 100 and 200 Backstroke Olympic Trial cuts at the USA Speedo Western Zones in 2012, has been a MW champion four times in her career, has been honored Academic All-MW for her first three years at CSU and was All-MW in 2011, 2010 and 2009 in the 100 and 200 Back.

“There is a reason I nominated her. She represents herself as a professional in the classroom, pool and community. I couldn’t think of a more deserving person,” Woodard said.

Freshman Erica Stock continued to be on fire in the pool and broke her second school record at the Championships in the 200 Breaststroke after dropping two-and-a-half seconds from her prelim time down to 2:14.67 in the finals. Stock finished ninth, slicing over a second off Nicole Ryan’s previous-school record of 2:15.75 that was set at the 2010 Championships. Along with Senior Kelly Mathews’ 11th-place finish, Stock boosted the team into sixth place which is the highest position CSU held at the Championships.

“We definitely don’t underestimate her. She is a peer racer and thrives on competition to win. The 200 Breast is a record that’s needed to be broken for quite some time, so I’m very happy for her,” Woodard said.

The Platform diving event allowed Mary Kate Hardy to shine with her lifetime-best score of 217.98 and a 10th-place finish. Maxelise Thorn also had a very strong performance that landed her in 14th place. Senior Madeline Mitchell was the third-scoring Ram and finished in 16th place with 174.84 points. The scoring positions in the platforms rounded out the diving team’s overall results, with each member of the squad scoring at the Championships.

“All six of our divers scored for CSU. It was very encouraging for our team and got everyone involved. I couldn’t be happier for the diving squad,” Woodard said.

Other highlights of the night included Madeline Mastrup’s eighth-place finish in the 1650 Freestyle. Senior Mary Foster also placed 13th in the same event. Senior Arianne Lujan beat her lifetime best in the 200 Butterfly with a 12th-place victory. Michelle Hawkins (2:00.24) and Jessica Shepard (2:01.08) had very strong performances in the 200 Back. Hawkins set her lifetime best by two seconds in 14th place, just ahead of Shepard in 15th.

The four days of Championship competition brought the greatest triumphs of the season for the Rams. From five broken-school records to Fuller earning one of the highest honors in the conference, the Rams can walk away proud of their accomplishments at the Championships and throughout the season.

“Obviously this year has been really rocky,” Woodard said. “It’s tough going into a meet thinking if we had only been healthier and if we hadn’t lost some people along the way, but when you get into the meet you just have to focus on what you have. And what we have is very good, and a very firm foundation for the future. Now it’s just time to get back and enjoy our accomplishments and have some fun.”

Overall San Diego State University brought home a definitive conference victory with 734 points. The standings followed with Boise State University (575), University of Wyoming (509), UNLV (444), University of Nevada (390), University of New Mexico (296), CSU (276), Fresno State (257), Air Force (211).

CSU has several athletes with times that were fast enough to make the NCAA-B cuts. Depending on the number of athletes that make A cuts, the remaining spots will pull from athletes who have met the B-cut standard. With CSU’s placement in the B cuts, there is a good chance that several athletes will move on to NCAA’s.  The NCAA’s will take place in Indianapolis, Ind., March 21-23.