The CSU swim team will host to six-time Big East Conference Champion-Notre Dame on Friday night, and the Rams are ready.
Dual meets between the two teams are not out of the ordinary, but it is an East versus West battle that does not take place every year. With its first dual meet victory coming last week against New Mexico, CSU is hoping to improve its record to 2-0.
“I am anticipating our swimmers to step up and swim well, but I think that they will do the same thing,” head coach John Mattos said. “We have to prove to them that we can swim at their level. Right now they might be overlooking us, but I think we are going to open their eyes.”
Notre Dame has hosted one tournament so far this year, when they won the 2002 Notre Dame Relays. They out-swam Illinois State, Wisconsin-Milwaukee, Valparaiso, Saint Mary’s and Marquette by winning all but one relay.
Even though the Fighting Irish finished 19th in the NCAA Championship Tournament last year, the Rams have some advantages. Notre Dame lost three swimmers and one diver that were arguably the best athletes the program has ever seen.
They also will be traveling to the higher elevations of the Moby Pool that always causes East Coast teams to struggle.
“They aren’t used to the altitude like we are and this time they are coming to our house,” Mattos said. “Those are two things we can definitely use to our advantage.”
In past competitions between the two teams, CSU has always put up a fight but never been able to come out with a victory.
“We have always done pretty well against them, but we haven’t had the depth or elite numbers that they have,” Mattos said.
Notre Dame will not be sending any divers to the meet so the CSU diving squad will use the meet as an exhibition. Although they are not competing against anyone, they hope that the meet can still be beneficial.
“It will be a good chance to practice because it is a meet setting, but there is no pressure,” senior diving captain Erin Shumway said. “We can just have a good time and support the swimmers.”
After the meet, CSU will have a week to prepare for a trip to Colorado Springs to challenge the Air Force Academy on Nov. 2. In the preseason Mountain West Conference polls, CSU is ranked second while Air Force is No. 7. BYU received the most votes, taking the No. 1 spot.
-Edited by Jon Ackerman and Josh Hardin