Swimming & diving preview: Rams host Northern Colorado on Senior Night

The Rams will honor their 10 graduating seniors on Wednesday during the meet vs. Northern Colorado

The Rams will honor their 10 graduating seniors on Wednesday during the meet vs. Northern Colorado

Jan. 28, 2013

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With just two dual meets left in the Rams' season, the swimming & diving team is eager to add a couple wins to its record. The Rams will begin their final week of regular-season competition with a home meet against their intrastate rival Northern Colorado on Wednesday at Moby Pool. The meet officially begins at 5 p.m. MT, but the 1-meter diving event will take place at 4:15 p.m., with the 3-meter jumps beginning during the meet's first break (approximately 5:45 p.m.).

While the Rams will be looking for a win in their final home meet of the season, the team will also celebrate Senior Night, honoring the contributions and accomplishments of the 10 graduating seniors.

CSU will then turn its attention to Air Force, as just four days later (Saturday at 1 p.m. MT), the Rams and Falcons will go head to head in Colorado Springs.

NORTHERN COLORADO AT COLORADO STATE - SENIOR NIGHT
Wednesday, Jan. 30, 2013 | Moby Pool | Fort Collins, Colo.

Scouting Northern Colorado

A win on Wednesday would do a lot of things, including give the Rams their first dual-meet victory of the season and send the seniors out in style in front of their home fans. And the opponent they're going up against may give them the opportunity to do just that. CSU has defeated Northern Colorado in 10 consecutive dual meets, with many coming fairly convincingly. The streak dates back to the 1996-97 season, including two victories in 2011-12 (228-108 in an invitational in Grand Junction and 187-111 in Greeley). CSU holds the overall advantage, 29-2, over Northern Colorado.

Although the Rams have a good run going against the Bears, Head Coach Woody Woodard isn't taking them lightly.

"Northern Colorado has had a pretty strong program, and has had some standout kids in the past," Woodard said. "Kelly [McClanahan] coaches them well, so I expect them to come in here and try to challenge us. They're facing a similar situation with three meets in a span of eight days, so I think both teams realize it's a test of fortitude. We have to gut out some tough races."

Sending off the seniors
During Wednesday's meet, the Rams will honor their 10 departing seniors, who will be competing at Moby Pool for the final time. The 2012-13 senior class includes: Tara DeMuth, Tasia DeMuth, Mary Foster, Breann Fuller, Chelea Kelly, Arianne Lujan, Kelly Mathews, Madeline Mitchell, Shelley Perkins and Lydia Templin.

The senior class has been a remarkably steady anchor for the team this season. The Rams have been able to rely on the very consistent performances of Breann Fuller in the freestyle and backstroke, Kelly Mathews in the breaststroke, and Arianne Lujan in the Butterfly and IM. With a class of 10, the seniors make up a powerful force on the team and in the record books. Four seniors hold six school records and 13 spots in CSU's all-time top performances list.

"While I've only had a year and a half with these girls, I've gone through a lot being a new head coach and learning how I want to direct my team, and their responses to it," said Woodard, who is in his second season directing the swimming & diving program. "It's going to be difficult to watch them leave. They'll be the athletes that really stick with me because they were here for the beginning."

The seniors will be honored during the meet's second break, prior to the 200 Freestyle Relay, which will be the final event of the night. Cheered on by their family and fans, each member of the team will be motivated to give the seniors an outstanding meet to remember.

"We're hoping to send them out on a good note, get a win and get some great races in," Woodard said. "Hopefully we'll have everyone laughing, not crying."

COLORADO STATE AT AIR FORCE
Saturday, Feb. 2, 2013 | Cadet Natatorium | Colorado Springs, Colo.

Scouting Air Force

Like its history against Northern Colorado, CSU also holds a strong advantage over Air Force, including 15 consecutive dual-meet victories. That streak also dates back to the 1996-97 season, and includes a 175-125 home win a year ago. CSU holds a 19-2 edge over Air Force in dual meets. The Rams have also never scored below the Falcons in the Mountain West Championship.

The Falcons, though, are having one of their top seasons in recent memory.

"Casey [Converse] has had his girls swim very well early on in the year, and sometimes early in January," Woodard said. "They run a unique program with their sessions down there, but he's had a couple strong swimmers--primarily in the freestyles, which is an area where we're weaker in--so we're going to have to compete well, especially while traveling to 7,200 feet."

Finishing tough
After starting the season with two dual meets and two invitationals in less than a month, the Rams had more than two months without competition. Now the Rams are back in action, and are looking to get in as many swims leading up to the conference championship. CSU's final four meets will occur in a 15-day period, including three (Jan. 26-Feb. 2), in eight days. The Rams will then have more than two weeks to rest up and prepare for the Mountain West Championship.

"We've had a lot of meets back to back, and that doesn't bother me, especially during the home stretch," Woodard said. "We have to get ready to race every three or four days and not race tired. It prepares us for Mountain West Championship."

Fuller at her finest
While all 10 of CSU's 2012-13 seniors will be recognized during Wednesday's meet, one athlete stands above them all: Breann Fuller.

A native of Brighton, Colo., Fuller has been one of CSU's most powerful swimmers since Olympic gold medalist Amy Van Dyken in 1994. Fuller holds four school records (100 Backstroke, 200 Backstroke, 200 Freestyle Relay and 200 Medley Relay) and four Mountain West championships.

As a freshman in 2009, Fuller took first place in the 100 Backstroke. She repeated in 2010, in addition to winning the 200 Backstroke. As a junior, she again won the 200 Backstroke. Fuller redshirted a year ago, but will look to defend her titles at the 2013 MW Championship. This season, she was within eight-hundredths of a second away from matching her own school record in the 200 Backstroke, and her times in both the 100 and 200 Backstroke rank in the top 30 nationally.

She has been selected to the All-MW team three times throughout her career, in addition to being a three-time Academic All-MW member.

"Breann is absolutely our anchor," Woodard said. "She's our best athlete, and I think our entire team is excited to watch her try to regain her Mountain West crown and compete in the NCAA Championship."


 

 

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