Oct. 12, 2013
GRAND JUNCTION, Colo. — CSU opened its 2013-14 season with the Colorado Mesa Intermountain Shootout Friday. With an even number of newcomers and returners, Friday’s competition was the first opportunity to test the depth and strength of the young team, and many exceeded expectations.
“I was really pleased,” Head Coach Christopher Woodard said. “It was a great combination of veterans and new kids stepping up and swimming for us very fast early in the season.”
The Rams stepped up from the very beginning, taking first in the 200 Medley Relay (1:45.76). The Rams then swept first through fourth in the 100 Breaststroke. Sophomore Cristina Bassani (1:05.59) led the group, followed by junior Tess Simpson (1:06.34) and freshmen Megan Lloyd (1:07.48) and Jenna Beaury (1:07.81).
CSU also had a strong showing in the 50 Freestyle. Junior Katie Polich finished second (24.20), just seven-hundredths of a second shy from her 2012-13 top time — which she set at the 2013 Mountain West Championships. Freshman Karen Roh (24.53) followed Polich in third place.
The Rams had high expectations for the diving squad, and sophomore Paige Greely led the group on Friday. In just her first performance of the season, Greely set an NCAA-qualifying score on the 3-meter boards.
“We’ve really been preaching process over results this season, but I think seeing some of those times — just in the very first session — got some of the girls really fired up,” Woodard said. “Not just focusing on our goals as a coaching staff, but they want to achieve for themselves and their own goals. So they’re happy, and it’s a great start.”
The 14 freshmen not only make a statement in their number, but are already setting intimidating speeds. Roh set the tone for the freshmen in the second event of the night, claiming fourth in the 200 Freestyle (1:56.99), the highest placement for CSU. Freshman Gabby Morely also made a big impact in the mile event.
“Gabby swam a great race in the mile, and Karen just continues to impress across the board,” Woodard said. “There were several freshmen who really stepped up and showed they’ve got some potentia. All around, we had very solid swims for our first night.”
The Rams conclude their opening weekend on Saturday, Day 2 of the Intermountain Shootout. The team will be tested for the first time in the 200 Freestyle Relay, 200 Butterfly, 50 Breaststroke, 500 Freestyle, 200 IM, 100 Freestyle, 200 Backstroke, 100 Butterfly, 200 Breaststroke, 400 Freestyle Relay and 1-meter diving. Competition begins at 10 a.m. MT. Live results can be found here.