Jan 292003
Authors: Joelle Milholm

Two-time NCAA Finals invitee. Three-time Mountain West Conference Female Swimmer of the Week. Two-time member of the MWC all-academic team. A member of the 2002 all-conference team.

But that is just the beginning of Kristen Schneider’s resume. Oh, there is one more thing; she’s only a junior. Just imagine the possibilities.

The native Canadian was born in Regina, Saskatowa, where she has been swimming since she was five. She traveled all around the country competing from the age of 12 on. Forced to join a club team because her high school did not have a swimming team, she got to travel even more.

When it came time to graduate, she had to pick a university that could further her talent.

“I wanted to come to the States for the great team atmosphere. I came to CSU because of John (Mattos, head coach),” Schneider said. “He really knows what he is doing.”

Her freshman year was a little different than most swimmers’. After turning heads all season, she got her chance to prove herself at the MWC Championships. There she won the 100- and 200-yard backstroke, qualifying for the NCAA Finals. Her time of 54.88 seconds in the 100-yard backstroke is still the fastest time the conference has seen in championships.

At the NCAAs, Schneider placed 24th in the 100-yard backstroke and 26th in the 200-yard backstroke. The times failed to make the final cut, but were still quite unusual coming from a freshman. Later that year, she received a spot on the 2001 MWC all-academic team.

“My biggest accomplishment at CSU so far was making the NCAA cut my freshman year,” Schneider said.

The year 2002 only brought more success. She was named MWC Female Swimmer of the Week, and set a new school record in the 200-yard Individual Medley with a time of 2 minutes, 3.08 seconds. At the MWC Championships she again won the 100-yard backstroke and then qualified for the NCAA Finals in the 100- and 200-yard backstroke and the 200-yard IM.

At the finals, she placed 39th in the 200 IM, 36th in the 200 backstroke, and 35th in the 100 backstroke, but once again did not advance to finals.

Schneider then made the 2002 all-conference team in the 200 IM, the 100 and 200 backstroke, the 200 medley relay, and the 400 free-relay.

Then there is this season. Schneider has already won more than 15 individual events, been named Mountain West Swimmer of the Week twice, and holds four records for CSU’s fastest season times. She still has one more dual meet to compete in and then she will once again be tested at the MWC Championships in Oklahoma City in February.

The Ram swim team has come to rely on Schneider as a clutch swimmer.

“She fits the profile of the go-to athlete on the team,” Mattos said. “If she keeps going at the rate, I don’t see any reason why she shouldn’t be able to accomplish her goals.”

Some of her goals, according to Mattos, would be finalizing in the NCAA finals and someday being at the level of Canadian Olympians. Schneider, who normally keeps her accomplishments to herself, did express one goal.

“My goal is to be an All-American. Hopefully this year and next,” Schneider said.

There is no telling what the future might hold for Kristen Schneider. More broken records? NCAA finalist times? Who knows, but this girl sure can swim.

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