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Three swimmers, one diver set to join Rams squad
The CSU Rams closed the 2013-14 regular season at home vs. Air Force on Feb. 1, 2014. Photos by Tim O'Hara.
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Christopher `Woody' Woodard enters his fourth season as Head Coach of the Colorado State women's swimming & diving program. The Rams are coming off their most successful season during Woodard's era, holding a winning record and a four-win improvement from 2012-13 to 2013-14.
While the Rams had plenty of success in 2013-14, Woodard knows that with an experienced lineup back in the pool, that the future of the program is even brighter. The Rams return 23 of their 28 letterwinners from last year, including their three All-Mountain West performers.
In three years at CSU, Woodard has re-established roots that trace back to a storied history that includes multiple top conference finishes and NCAA qualifiers. Under Woodard's watch, the Rams have set nine school records and in 2013, Woodard helped coach Breann Fuller, who was a Mountain West champion in the 200 Butterfly and finished in the top 25 in both the 100 and 200 Butterfly at the NCAA Championships.
Woodard, a former assistant coach for swimming and water polo at Colorado State from 2000-05, returned to CSU after six years at North Carolina State, where he was the associate head men's swimming coach and an assistant for the women's program.
In Woodard's 18 years of experience, he has assisted in coaching Olympic gold medalists Amy Van Dyken (2000) and Cullen Jones (2008), and was the primary coach for 14-time Paralympic gold medalist Erin Popovich. Van Dyken and Popovich are former Rams.
During his tenure with NC State, Woodard's swimmers compiled 58 school records, and the women's team placed 29th at the 2009 NCAA Championships. Both the men's and women's squads were named scholastic All-America teams in 2010. Jones, before winning the gold medal in 2008, was the 2006 NCAA champion in the 50 Freestyle.
While at CSU, Woodard helped coach the Rams to a 37-13 dual-meet record from 2000-05 and produced five Mountain West champions with 14 school records. CSU finished in the top three in the MW each year from 2001-04, including a 10-0 record and a regular-season championship in 2004, the same season the team was an NCAA qualifier. Woodard served as a volunteer assistant with the Rams from 1998-2000 while obtaining his master's degree.
Away from the pool, Woodard's teams have set the standard in the classroom. In three seasons as head coach, 20 Rams have earned Mountain West Scholar-Athlete status, the highest academic honor bestowed upon by the conference. Additionally, CSU has earned Team Scholar All-America recognition for seven times. The prestigious academic honor is awarded twice a year to teams with a 3.0 cumulative GPA.
Before his time at the university level, Woodard served as the head coach for the Shawmut Aquatic Club, from 1996-98. A native of Buffalo, N.Y., he attended Hartwick College in Oneonta, N.Y., graduating in 1995. He earned his first coaching job after graduation as an assistant swim coach with Hartwick (1995-96), where he recruited three future All-Americans.
Woodard is the fifth head coach in program history. He replaced long-time head coach John Mattos, who retired after the 2010-11 season, his 31st at CSU.
Woodard is married to wife Holly, and together they have a son, Gabriel, and daughter, Elliot.
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