Swimming & diving preview: Rams host AF Saturday for final meet

Feb. 1, 2012

By Sarah Thomsen
Athletic Media Relations

FORT COLLINS, Colo. – The Rams plan for a packed weekend with back-to-back meets against Wyoming and the Air Force Academy. While the Rams will travel to Wyoming to meet their biggest rivals, the Cowgirls, the Rams will host the Falcons, Saturday at Moby Pool with competition beginning at 1 p.m. MT.

The Rams have coupled with the CSU Bookstore to give away 100 green “Rams Splash” t-shirts to the first 100 students with their student IDs.

“With just 100 or so of their family and friends [the athletes] kind of go about their business,” Head Coach Chris Woodard said, “but when they start having support from students or alums or community members, I think it shows. I think it kind of spurs them on to bigger and better things in the water.”

Saturday’s home meet marks the final-dual meet of the season as well as the final-dual meet in the collegiate-careers of seniors: Kristen Gropp, Jennifer Lamb, Fran Mathias, Kim Schemahorn and Shayna Solomon.

One of the major goals the Rams have for the season is to finish with a record of .500 or above. Currently the Rams have a record of 4-6 overall and 1-2 against their Mountain West rivals. To make their goal they have to win against both MW teams.

“I told the girls that we wanted to achieve this goal of a .500,” Woodard said, “but our main goal is going to conference and putting up times and points there.”

Friday, at Corbett Pool in Laramie, Wyo., the Rams will face their age-old rivals, the Cowgirls (10-4, 2-1 MW). The Rams and the Cowgirls have been trading wins and losses for the past nine seasons. In the past two seasons the Rams have fallen to the Cowgirls, which can only add to their determination.  

“The rivalry obviously predates my experience here,” Woodard said. “When I was an assistant here under John they were always hotly contested meets. During our early existence we were 35-0 until they finally broke through. Now that they’ve broken through, they’ve become a real player. They can give us a run for our money every single time.”

Saturday will be no less of a challenge. Currently the Rams hold a 14-season winning streak against the Falcons (15-2, 0-2 MW), but that does not mean the Rams are underestimating their opponents, especially considering the Falcons are currently ranked second in the conference.

“They’re both well coached teams,” Woodard said. “They have scorers basically in every event, not a lot of holes. So that’s why they stack up pretty well against us.”

Quoting Head Coach Chris Woodard:

His expectations for the athletes:
“What I want to see is basically kids getting up and racing with a lot of confidence and rolling with the punches, if something doesn’t go their way they’re already putting that behind them and already focusing on the next race.”

Comparing championships with back-to-back dual meets:
“It is physically exhausting and certainly mentally grueling to have to swim in the morning and afternoon [at the championships], but they are rested, suited and shaved. These meets they won’t be.”