Jan 192006
Authors: Sean Star

The CSU women's swimming and diving team hits the road this weekend for a pair of dual meets against two formidable Mountain West Conference opponents.

The team heads to Provo, Utah tonight to swim against the BYU Cougars. CSU and BYU will square off in 14 swimming races and two diving events. With one conference loss apiece, the meet should go a long way in determining which team may challenge Utah for the right to be named MWC regular season champion.

After the meet, the team will travel north to Salt Lake City for Saturday's dual meet with the first-place Utes (4-0).

Although the Rams have not faced a conference team in over a month, they have stayed more than fresh with a strict training regimen that included a trip to the Matt Gribble Invitational, hosted by the University of Miami the weekend of Jan. 8.

CSU enters this weekend's contests with a great deal of momentum, winners of its last four conference meets.

Junior backstroke specialist Brette Winegarner, a native of Anchorage, Alaska, attributes the Rams current success to great leadership from the two senior captains, Liz Jones and Rachelle Kula.

The Rams' hot streak has also been sparked by a number of freshmen, most notably former Dakota Ridge star Lyndsey Cox. Cox particularly benefited from the veteran leadership of Jones.

"Liz is my hero, I've swam with her for a majority of the season," Cox said. "She's really positive and motivational. How good she is right now – that is where I want to be."

Jones is excited about the thought of traveling to Utah for this weekend's meets.

"I'm looking forward to going up against BYU and Utah because we always have a pretty strong rivalry with them," Jones said. "It's always exciting to go into their house and see what we can do."

Although it is always a goal for the CSU women's swimming and diving team to win as many regular season events as possible, head coach John Mattos has a bigger plan. Mattos organized his team's season and his player's training with the postseason first in mind.

"The dual meets are just a means for us to test ourselves, to put us into competitive situations, but not necessarily to dictate the success of our season," said Mattos, a recent CSU Hall of Fame inductee. "The success of our season is in the culmination, the conference championships at the end of February and hopefully leading on to the NCAA Tournament."

The team ends its regular season at home Feb. 3 against defending conference champions, the University of Las Vegas at Nevada.



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