April 7, 2009
By Sarah Mast
Athletic Media Relations
FORT COLLINS, Colo. - The CSU swimming and diving season came to a close on March 21, leaving the team with its most dual wins (10-4) since 2000-01, when the Rams went 10-0.
The Rams (6-2 Mountain West) finished the regular season in second place in the conference and took fifth at the MWC championships in February.
"The only thing we didn't meet expectation-wise was our final team finish," said Head Coach John Mattos. "We wanted to get back up into the top three as a team. We came within 30 points of doing that, but regardless, it was still a missed opportunity."
CSU broke nine school records at the MWC championships. Freshman Breann Fuller broke records in both the 100 and 200 Backstroke and earned the opportunity to compete at the NCAA championships March 19-21. Fuller, who was the first CSU swimmer to compete at the championships since Kristen Schneider in 2004, finished 48th in both events.
"The future still looks extremely strong with these athletes," Mattos said. "We lost two great seniors in Annsley Lujan and Stephanie Meyer, but it was only two. Everybody else that was here is returning. Our nucleus is an experienced nucleus of athletes. I think our expectations will be very strong for next season."
Eleven CSU swimmers and one relay team earned MWC all-conference honors following the MWC championships. The selections mark the most all-conference honors in swimming for the Rams since 2005.
Selections include Fuller, Lujan, Sam Dole, Maddie Gamble, Nicole Lynch, Michelle Price, Carmen Gisella Cianci, Nora Kennedy, Jennifer Muniz, Mari Anna Loftness and Kathleen McCleary. The Rams' 200 Medley relay team, consisting of Fuller, Lynch, Kennedy and Dole, also received all-conference honors.
Mattos was also honored at the conclusion of the season, earning the Mountain West Conference Coach of the Year award alongside Mike Shrader of San Diego State. Mattos has coached 13 All-Americans and six-time Olympic gold medalist Amy Van Dyken in his 29 years at CSU.
Now, as the Rams prepare for their 30th season under Mattos, the coach has nothing but high expectations for the future of the program.
"The realization of our goals is going to be dependent upon how we mature and how the incoming freshmen and potential transfers mature as a team," Mattos said. "The good thing is that we have a lot of good pieces in place. The incoming athletes are going to really add top-level potential and depth where we were weak. I really don't see too many weaknesses that we will have."
Incoming freshmen include Arianne Lujan (Arvada, Colo.), Genevieve Swartz (The Woodlands, Texas), Mary Foster (The Woodlands, Texas), Lindsay Banning (Longmont, Colo.) and Kelly Mathews (Denver, Colo.).
Mattos expects the leadership and work ethic of the juniors and seniors to send a message down the line to influence the atmosphere of the training and atmosphere of the team.
"There is a huge group of upperclassmen, and they are just tremendous," Mattos said. "These are kids who have done the job for us for so long, and I know they're going to put in tremendous efforts and be good leaders for us. We just have a lot of leadership characteristics in the senior class. It's coming down to their last season and you want to see them really go out on a high note."
The Rams will face all MWC opponents again in 2009-10, including TCU and BYU, who each handed CSU its only conference losses.
The Rams' schedule, which is expected to begin in October, will likely include home meets with TCU, UNLV, Denver and Northern Colorado. CSU will travel to meet Utah, BYU and Wyoming.
"I'm already excited about next season," Mattos said. "I'm still very pleased with how the kids did this past year. The attitudes from the season are carrying on, and I can see it in our spring training. It's really a neat group of young women who have a great future."