Swimming & diving preview: Rams prepare for MW Championships
Feb. 15, 2013
Full Release in PDF Format | MW Championships Central | 2012-13 Media Guide
Mountain West Championships
Feb. 20-23, 2013 | Palo Alto Aquatic Center | San Antonio, Texas
2013 Mountain West Championships
With every lap, every stroke, every workout and every dive, the Rams have been preparing for the Mountain Championships in San Antonio, Texas. Feb. 20-23 will be the culmination of a hard-fought season and the opportunity for the Rams to achieve their season-long goal of finishing in the top five of the conference standings. The Championships have the ability to erase any missteps in the dual-meet season.
“At the Championships, the energy goes through the roof,” Head Coach Christopher Woodard said. “You have nine teams there, and they’re all trying to jockey for a position. Everyone’s rested, so their energy levels are at an all-time high. The conference championships are a whole different animal, and I’m excited.”
The Rams walk into the Championships with the momentum of two straight wins, against Northern Colorado (145-98) and conference foe Air Force (157-143). In both meets the Rams were unwavering in their fight. Their determination led to three of the fastest swims of the season and the highest-scoring dive of the season in the 1-Meter by Paige Greely. The confidence that only a ‘W’ can bring is priceless at this point in the season.
For live scores, results and all the information regarding the MW Championships, check out the Championships Central page.
Fighting for a top-five finish
At the 2012 Championships, Woodard’s first back in Fort Collins, the Rams were only able to edge out Air Force, finishing seventh out of eight teams. From the beginning of the 2012-13 season, though, everyone had the expectation that the Rams would be a fierce competitor at the 2013 Championships—CSU more than anyone. The preseason coaches poll ranked CSU fifth, a two-spot jump from 2012. To stay true to the prediction, the Rams will have to beat out New Mexico, Nevada, Fresno State and Air Force. New Mexico will prove to be CSU’s toughest opponent to beat of the four. In the third dual-meet of the season, the Rams fell to the Lobos for the first time since 1993. The Rams are still confident that they belong in the top five of the conference and are determined to prove it at the Championships.
“We see ourselves as a team that’s in the upper half of the conference,” Woodard said. “To get there, though, we obviously have to prove that in the pool. What we’ve been focusing on the last week is team commitment and everyone playing their roles and doing their jobs. That’s the only way we’re going to get there. We can’t have seven people do really well and the other nine come along for the ride; we need every single person to play their part.”
While the Rams have spent the past several seasons rebuilding, they’re not far removed from being one of the most storied programs in the Mountain West Since the league’s inception in 1999-2000, the Rams have finished in the top three five times (2000-04), including three top-two finishes.
Even more impressive is CSU’s dual-meet record against the current members of the MW, which stands at 112-22 (.836). Just one team (Boise State) has a winning dual-meet record over CSU (2-1), and UNLV and CSU have split their 10 meetings. The Rams hold commanding advantages over several teams, including Air Force (20-2), New Mexico (29-2) and Wyoming (41-7). CSU has never finished below Air Force in the Championships, and just once (2012), have the Rams finished lower than New Mexico.
CSU’s complete MW Championships history, including standings and individual champions, can be found on Page 3 of the full release.
Fuller at her finest
The team will be led into the Championships by senior captain Breann Fuller. Fuller is undoubtedly the anchor of the team and the most intimidating backstroker of the Championships. Fuller holds four school records (100 Backstroke, 200 Backstroke, 200 Freestyle Relay and 200 Medley Relay) and four Mountain West championships.
As a freshman in 2009, Fuller took first place in the 100 Backstroke. She repeated in 2010, in addition to winning the 200 Backstroke. As a junior, she again won the 200 Backstroke. Fuller redshirted a year ago, but will look to defend her titles at the 2013 MW Championship. This season, she was within eight-hundredths of a second away from matching her own school record in the 200 Backstroke, and her times in both the 100 and 200 Backstroke rank in the top 30 nationally.
She was a 2009 NCAA and 2012 Olympic Trails qualifier. She has also been selected to the All-MW team three times throughout her career, in addition to being a three-time Academic All-MW member.
“Breann is absolutely our anchor,” Woodard said. “She’s nationally ranked and out in front, and we certainly expect her to swim that way. The expectation is that we’re going to take her to NCAA’s. Barring that, I never know who’s going to step up; I think any one of our kids has the ability to step up and surprise.”