Feb. 27, 2008
OKLAHOMA CITY, Okla. - Led by a strong effort from its senior divers, Colorado State finished the opening day of the 2008 Mountain West Swimming and Diving Championships in third place Wednesday at the Oklahoma City Community College Aquatic Center.
BYU leads the nine-team competition with 111 points, followed by Wyoming (102) and CSU (87).
"Our kids did very well tonight," Head Coach John Mattos said. "We are light years better after Day 1 this year compared to last year."
The Rams' divers set the tone for the four-day competition, as seniors Karin Knudson and Elyse Hall each earned all-conference honors by finishing in the top eight of the 1-meter event. Knudson was fourth with a score of 263.75, while Hall finished seventh with a 250.90. BYU's Tawni Jones captured the title with a 279.85.
In the day's other two events, the 200 Medley relay and the 800 Freestyle relay, the Rams finished fifth in each race.
"But our times were significantly faster," Mattos said. "So, we're pleased with that effort."
Mattos also was pleased because in each race, the Rams' athletes were all freshmen and sophomores, giving them an extremely bright future.
In that 200 competition, three freshmen - including two from Fort Collins -- and a sophomore gave the Rams an extremely bright future. Freshman Michelle Price (Poudre High School) and sophomore Nora Kennedy (Fort Collins High School) combined with freshmen Nicole Lynch and Emily Molzahn to post a time of 1:44.65, a CSU season best.
Then, in the evening's final event, an all-sophomore squad of Kennedy, Kathleen McCleary, Carmen Gisella Cianci and Jennifer Muniz swam the 800 in 7:31.36.
That performance by some of the team's youngest athletes marked the fifth-fastest 800 Freestyle relay race in Colorado State program history. Kennedy's leadoff time of 1:52.79 was a personal best.
"We're not far behind second place," Mattos said of the Rams' 15-point deficit entering Day 2.
Thursday, the Rams will open the day with the preliminaries in 3-meter diving, the 500 Freestyle, the 200 IM and the 50 Freestyle. The day concludes with the finals in each of those events, as well as the 200 Freestyle Relay.
"Last year, we didn't put anyone in final or consolation final of the 50 Free," Mattos said. "So, we're keeping our fingers crossed there."
The Rams enter as an underdog in the 200 IM, but are expected to challenge in the 500 Free.
"Our main goal is the finish in the top three in every event," Mattos said. "The kids are really positive. We're going to try to keep it rolling."