Swimming & diving preview: Rams to begin season at Denver
Oct. 17, 2012
Full weekly release in PDF format | Schedule | Roster | Media Guide
2012-13 dual-meet season opens
The Rams begin their competition season against the University of Denver (Saturday at noon MT) with the expectation to finish the dual-meet season with a .500 record or above, which would be an improvement from the team’s 5-7 (2-3 MW) mark during the 2011-12 season. With a strong senior class of conference champions and school-record holders, coupled with a freshman class with times already rivaling the top of CSU’s charts, the Rams begin their season with eager anticipation and a team with the potential to meet those goals.
Scheduling tough opponents first
Christopher Woodard begins his second season as head coach at Colorado State with a lineup of some of the Rams’ toughest opponents right out of the gate. Following the season opener at Denver, the Rams will host their fiercest conference rival, Wyoming, Saturday, Oct. 27. Wyoming finished fourth at the Mountain West Championships and holds a victory over CSU from the last time they met in 2011, 198-106. The Rams will then face San Diego State, who placed second at the Championships by only five points, the following weekend at the Albuquerque Invite, in Albuquerque, N.M.
“Essentially, the purpose is we don’t want to ease into the season. We want to test ourselves right from the beginning,” Woodard said. “I also wanted to send a message to the team that we had to be very seri¬ous about our summer training, and I think they responded.”
Denver, the 2012 Sun Belt champions, enters the 2012-13 season with five returning seniors. The Pio¬neers will face new challenges this season, however, as they join the Western Athletic Conference. The Rams have fallen to the Pioneers each of the last two seasons, following a four-season winning streak from 2006-09.
“Honestly, last year I didn’t have many expectations except watching the team race effectively,” Woodard said. “This year my expectation is to have a much more competitive meet, but I know that Denver has a strong team and they’ll be ready for us.”
CSU has pooled an impressive lineup of recruits to make up the freshman class. Among them are Olympic Trials qualifier, Erica Stock; Texas state cham¬pion, Jessica Shepard; Senior National diver, Ariana Milone; and eight others, who look to help the Rams move up in the conference standings.
“Not having Paige Greely and Cristina Bassani for this first meet, due to their injuries, hurts us,” Woodard said, “but for the most part, the freshmen are making huge strides in the pool. They really address some of those second- and third-place spots where we had some questions. I really believe, by the end of the year, some of them will be out in the front of this team.”
Senior Breann Fuller returns to the pool after redshirting during the 2011-12 season. Fuller has been a consistent force in the backstroke events since her freshman year. She has been a Mountain West champion in the 100 and/or 200 Backstroke in each of her past three championship appearances. Holding four school records (100 Backstroke, 200 Backstroke, 200 Freestyle Relay and 200 Medley Relay) Fuller has kept her quick times on the record books despite her absence from the competition pool.
“I’m just really eager to get the chance to see her race,” Woodard said. “I haven’t seen her in a race environment yet, so this is my first chance to see her respond to a college dual-meet situation. I’m pretty excited about it.”
What to watch for
The Rams are confident in the backstroke events with Fuller back in the pool, along with junior Yana Garvey. Garvey earned all-conference honors with her lifetime-best performance in the 100 Backstroke at the MW Championships, and held the fastest times on the team for the season in the 100 and 200 Backstroke events.
On the boards, three freshmen—Greely, Ariane Milone and Mackenzie Thornton, add to the already-stellar diving team. Platform diving record holder, senior Madeline Mitchell, leads the team, along with Chelea Kelly, Maxelise Thorn and Mary Kate Hardy.