March 5, 2009
By Sarah Mast
Athletic Media Relations
FORT COLLINS, Colo. -- Eleven CSU swimmers and one relay team earned all-conference honors last weekend, the Mountain West Conference announced this week.
The announcement came just days after CSU set nine school records at the MWC swimming and diving championships in Oklahoma City, Okla.
The selections mark the most all-conference honors in swimming for CSU since 2005, when the Rams also had 11 athletes named to the all-conference team. No other Mountain West team had more selections, as the number matched that of UNLV and conference champion BYU.
Breann Fuller (100 Backstroke, 200 Backstroke) was the only freshman to be named to the all-conference team. Fuller set school records in both events at the MWC championships and automatically qualified to swim in both events at the NCAA championships March 19-21.
"When the team saw Breann lead off in the 200 Medley relay, they just couldn't wait to see what they could do," Mattos said. "They set a record in the 200 Medley relay (1:41.85) and then swam in the 800 Freestyle relay (7:22.73) and set a record there. The number of kids we have now in the top five performances in events is just off the charts."
Sophomores Sam Dole (50 Freestyle), Maddie Gamble (500 Freestyle, 1,650 Freestyle), Nicole Lynch (100 Breaststroke, 200 Breaststroke), and Michelle Price (400 Individual Medley, 100 Backstroke) were all named to the all-conference team. Gamble recorded school-record times in both the 500 Freestyle (4:53.23) and 1,650 Freestyle (16:47.70) at the MWC championships. Lynch also set a school record at the championships in the 100 Breaststroke (1:03.35).
"They have been swimming really well all season long, which only creates more confidence in their preparation and in their focus on accomplishment when they are fully rested," Mattos said. "I think because they had been winning and because they had been performing so well, there was such a tremendous amount of confidence, and that just allowed them to perform at a higher level when they were rested."
Carmen Gisella Cianci (200 Freestyle), Nora Kennedy (100 Butterfly), Mari Anna Loftness (200 Breaststroke), Kathleen McCleary (1,650 Freestyle) and Jennifer Muniz (400 Individual Medley), all juniors, were named to the all-conference team as well. Muniz set a school record in the 400 Individual Medley (4:21.91) at the conference championships, as well as helped set a school record in the 800 Freestyle relay (7:22.73). Dole also helped set records in the 200 Medley and 200 Freestyle relays.
"We're fortunate to have a tremendous group of young ladies," Mattos said. "Experience, training and confidence all led up to this performance."
Senior Annsley Lujan was also named to the all-conference team in the 200 Breaststroke after swimming a personal-best 2:19.86 at the championships.
The Rams' 200 Medley relay team, consisting of Fuller, Lynch, Kennedy and Dole, was also named to the all-conference team. The relay team set a school record at the championships with a time of 1:41.85 seconds.
Mattos, the conference Coach of the Year, said he attributes a lot of the success of the team to strength training and dry-land programs being used prior to practicing in the pool.
"It just led to the kind of success that you just can't deny," Mattos said. "We had great support in keeping the girls healthy and focusing on any rehab the girls needed. It doesn't just happen with one or two athletes or one or two coaches. It's a combined effort. It takes a whole team, not just a few individuals."
The Rams finished fifth in team scoring at the championships, but concluded the regular season second in the MWC with a 6-2 conference record (10-4 overall), having lost only to an undefeated BYU team and to TCU. The team's 10 dual wins were its most since the Rams went 10-0 in 2000-01.
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