March 21, 2009
By Sarah Mast
Athletic Media Relations
COLLEGE STATION, Texas -- Freshman Breann Fuller kicked off her first NCAA championship appearance with a 48th-place finish in the 100 Backstroke preliminaries on Friday, recording her third fastest time ever (54.48 seconds). She also placed 48th in the 200 Backstroke preliminaries (1:57.89) on Saturday.
"She had a little bit of the freshman jitters," said Head Coach John Mattos. "Her first swim in the 100 Backstroke was a very nervous swim. She didn't look at all like she normally looks.
"She had a good performance this morning," Mattos said, referring to the 200 on Saturday. "She had her second fastest time ever. It's one of those things where she's learning step by step. There's no question in my mind that she can compete at this level."
The freshman is the first CSU swimmer to compete at the NCAA championships since Kristen Schneider in 2004. Schneider held school records in both the 100 Backstroke (54.50) and 200 Backstroke (1:58.65) for more than five years before 2009.
Fuller broke Schneider's school records in the 200 Backstroke (1:56.74), as well as in the 100 Backstroke (52.95 seconds), at the MWC championships in February.
"It almost felt like she was a little bit over her head, which I know isn't true," Mattos said. "Unfortunately that can happen to a young athlete. It was a good learning experience and it humbled her a little bit. Now she's going to be able to come back and perform at a stronger level with more confidence."
Fuller's performance at the NCAA championships marks the end of the season for the CSU swimming and diving team. The team finished fifth at the MWC championships in February, but concluded the regular season second in the conference with a 6-2 conference record (10-4 overall). The team's 10 dual wins were its most since the 2000-01 season when the Rams went 10-0.
"We are glad she was out here," Mattos said. "It's really good to get that experience as a freshman. Now it's a matter of getting ready for the summer season and the fall and winter of next year."