Nov. 17, 2012
By Sarah Thomsen
Athletic Media Relations
KNOXVILLE, Tenn. – CSU took third place in the final day of the Tennessee Invitational, Saturday at the Jones Aquatic Center. The invite was won by No. 13 Tennessee, with 1189 points, followed by Kentucky (847), CSU (772.5) and Duke (611.5).
Although the Rams have had a five-meet losing streak, the invitational proved the ongoing hard work of the team with some of the fastest times of the season across the board.
“Some misses here and there, but I’m still very, very happy with the team’s performance,” Head Coach Christopher Woodard said.
In the first swim of the night, Madeline Mastrup (16:59.62) and Mary Foster (17:21.24) finished second and third, respectively, in the 1650 Freestyle.
“They were both very solid mid-season times,” Woodard said. “We haven’t done a lot of distance training at this time, so we’re still ramping up. But they did a very nice job starting us off in the night with two very solid swims.”
Out of the three-day competition, CSU’s strongest event was undoubtedly the 200 Backstroke. Breann Fuller set the pace with her second first-place finish of the invitational with a time just 0.08 seconds away from breaking her lifetime best and school record. The senior finished at 1:59.09.
Yana Garvey (2:01.28) claimed third in the 200 Backstroke, and was followed by Michelle Hawkins (2:02.74) and Jessica Shepard (2:02.76) in fourth and fifth, respectively. All four Rams set season bests and dropped time from the prelims. Hawkins' time was her lifetime best by more than two seconds.
“The backstrokes have definitely been our deepest events this year,” Woodard said. “We have very talented backstrokers and I was really impressed with the fact that every single one of them dropped time. Breann obviously had an outstanding meet, but also having Hawkins walk on and drop time and freshman Shepard perform the way she did, those were very surprising swims.”
The 200 Breaststroke was another strong event for the Rams. Kelly Mathews and Erica Stock moved up in position from their performances in the prelims to third and fourth in the finals. Both athletes’ times were their season bests.
In the Rams' first opportunity on the platform boards this season, Madeline Mitchell placed fifth, followed by Mary Kate Hardy in sixth.
The Rams will now have two months before their next competition, against Northern Arizona on Jan. 19. Although CSU will have a break, the time away from the competition pool will be anything but easy. The time will allow the team intense training before CSU faces the next half of competition.
“At the half-way point we look pretty good,” Woodard said. “Our dual-meet record is not indicative of who we are, but if we want to look better on the back half we have to keep up our intensity. That’s going to be key. It’s tough for any team and coach to keep up the workload around the holidays, but that’s the task in front of us. We want to duplicate the success and get better. We can’t lay off at all.”