Jan 252007
Authors: Amanda Schank

A group of Rams is ready to bring their best game to Vegas this weekend, but you can bet it won’t be played out on the poker tables.

On Saturday, the women’s swimming and diving team travels to Las Vegas to compete against conference foe UNLV and non-conference challenger UC-Santa Barbara. The meet is one of two remaining in the season before the conference championship – both in which CSU faces a conference opponent.

“Our primary concern is UNLV,” said Head Coach John Mattos. “The kids want to show a little bit more of what they’re capable of right now as opposed to what happened in these past meets.”

UNLV is currently ranked fifth in the Mountain West Conference standings with a conference record of 3-3 – right behind CSU’s fourth place standing. The Rams are 4-2 in the conference and 6-2 overall.

“We don’t want to be bumped down any further on the standings, so it’s definitely a big incentive to go out there and beat them,” said senior co-captain Brette Winegarner. “We only have two more chances to climb up on the standings.”

UC-Santa Barbara could bring some surprises for the women, as the teams haven’t faced each other in years, Mattos said. The Big West team is currently 3-9 overall in its season.

The meet follows two losses to Utah and BYU – a situation UNLV found itself in earlier this season. Despite the conference losses, Winegarner said the team is optimistic and ready to win.

“We weren’t devastated by the losses,” Winegarner said. “Everybody still has their head on straight and a really positive attitude. Everybody’s pumped to go in there and hopefully beat them.”

While the women swam tired last weekend after a demanding training schedule over winter break, Mattos said if practices are any indication they’re ready to compete on Saturday.

“We started to really loosen up (Wednesday) morning,” Mattos said. “(Some) swimmers have been somewhat lackadaisical, but (Wednesday) morning they snapped out of it and are feeling the desire and need to swim fast this weekend.”

The team is on its final stretch before the MWC Championships Feb. 21 in Oklahoma City. Next weekend the Rams face long-time rival Wyoming in their last home meet of the season.

Swimming and diving beat reporter Amanda Schank can be reached at sports@collegian.com.

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