Nov. 17, 2011
By Sarah Thomsen
Athletic Media Relations
HOUSTON, Texas – The Rams found their momentum Thursday at the Phill Hansel Cougar Classic Invite at the Campus Recreation and Wellness Center Natatorium. Colorado State (2-5, 0-1 Mountain West) finished fourth after the first day of competition with points totaling 145.
“I think two things happened tonight,” Head Coach Chris Woodard said. “First, I honestly think the girls have bought in to what we’re doing as a staff. Second, I don’t know, I think they just started to believe. Once they got rolling with their first swims, every time they got up there they thought, ‘I’m going to top my best.’”
Senior captain Jennifer Lamb broke graduate Maddie Gamble’s 2009 school record in the 500 Freestyle of 4 minutes, 53.2 seconds with a time of 4:52.88. Lamb placed second in the 500 free, earning CSU 17 points, the most from an individual athlete Thursday.
“It’s a testament to J-lamb,” said Woodard. “She’s just one of those kids that you can give whatever you want in training and she just puts it all in perspective and gets out to race. She hasn’t touched her lifetime best in three or four years, and to top it all off and get a school record that’s huge.”
With only nine swimmers and three divers on the traveling team, the Rams knew they had to step up to compete against schools taking their full complement of conference athletes. Throughout the day’s competitions, each swimmer achieved their season bests in relay and individual events. The Rams qualified for the finals in every event, with a top-five finish in most finals.
Nearly all the Rams continued their momentum from their prelims and rallied in the finals, cutting their seed-times dramatically and moving up in position.
Senior Fran Mathias had a lifetime best in the 200 IM with a time of 2:07.98 and placed 19th in the event. Junior Arianne Lujan moved up from eight in the preliminary competition in the 200 IM to finish fifth-place in the finals. Junior Mary Foster had a pair of top swims in the 500 free. Foster placed eighth in the preliminaries, only to come back, cut down her time to 4:58.7, and move up two positions for a sixth-place finish. Senior Kim Schemahorn placed eighth in the 50 free with a time of 24.03.
The divers totaled 34 points for CSU, with Shayna Solomon placing fifth with a score of 246.90. Solomon was followed by Mary Kate Hardy who scored 239.40.
“I’m glad to see that they’re moving in the right direction,” Woodard said. “I think they’re happy and that’s all that matters to me.”
Friday the Rams will compete in some of their best events. Sophomore Yana Garvey will face the 100 Backstroke, Mathias will compete in the 100 Butterfly and Lamb will take on another distance freestyle event with the 200 Freestyle. Other events will include: the 200 Medley Relay, 400 IM, 100 Breaststroke, 1-meter diving and the 800 Freestyle Relay.
“We’ve got some of our pretty solid events ahead,” Woodard said. “There are plenty of good swims ahead. This won’t be our best day.”
Prelim competition begins at 9 a.m. MT., live results can be found here.