Despite adding two losses to a previously unmarred record, the Rams’ swimming and diving teams have yet to admit defeat.
The back-to-back dual meets on Thursday and Friday brought two of the conference’s top competitors to Moby for the team’s first competition there of the season. On Thursday, the Rams lost to the Utah Utes 180-120; the next day the team tallied 105 points to again fall short of Brigham Young’s 195.
“We are a better team than what we did, we’re just really tired now,” said Chandra Engs, a senior and co-captain. “The meets showed us that there are better teams out there.but the way we performed this weekend is no indication of how we will perform in conference.
“I’m sure we’ll beat some of these teams in a couple of weeks.”
In both of the meets the Rams notched many second and third place finishes in the swimming and diving. Senior co-captain Brette Winegarner swam to Thursday’s only first place finishes in both the 100- and 200-yard backstroke.
Freshman Jen Muniz nabbed a first on Friday in the 200-yard butterfly, while the Rams finished the 200-yard medley and 400-yard freestyle relays in second place during both the meets.
The losses bring the Rams’ overall record to 6-2 and conference record to 4-2. Entering last week’s meet the team was ranked first in the conference. Utah was ranked third and BYU fourth.
Now, CSU is fourth in the standings behind Utah, Wyoming and BYU, respectively.
While not happy with the overall results of the meet, Head Coach John Mattos said he expects “great things” from this year’s team in the remainder of the season.
“What we have to do is find a way to swim like we did early in the season when every event we jumped up on we were extremely competitive from top to bottom,” Mattos said. “We want to go into conference with some confidence, and once we rest these kids we’ll do some incredible things speed-wise.”
Mattos also said many factors contributed to the losses that were out of the team’s control. These included not swimming top breaststroker Victoria Curtis due to a pulled groin, the mentally and physically draining task of competing against two of the conference’s “toughest” teams consecutively, and the timing of Christmas training camp combined with the return to school.
The Rams’ winter break was cut short by a return to the pool on Dec. 27, training in Fort Collins until they left for Florida on Jan. 7. Leading up to the meets, the team saw only one day of rest since the 27th – and that was a travel day.
Despite the losses and demanding training schedule, Winegarner said team spirit runs high.
“We’ll be able to bounce back from it,” Winegarner said. “This is a team like I’ve never been on before.Everyone is really supportive of each other and just bonds.”
The Ram women travel to Las Vegas, Nev. this weekend to face conference foe UNLV and non-conference opponent UC-Santa Barbara. Their next home meet is scheduled for Feb. 2 against Wyoming.
Swimming and diving beat reporter Amanda Schank can be reached at email@example.com.
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