Itâ€™s always nice to go out with a splash, and thatâ€™s what the CSU swimming and diving team plans to do at the Mountain West Conference Championships this week.
The Rams begin competition today at the Oklahoma City Community College Aquatic Center in Oklahoma City, Okla., and will swim until Saturday.
CSU (3-9, 2-6 MWC) had a disappointing duel-meet season but is confident entering the conference championship.
â€œWe kind of want to redeem ourselves,â€ senior swimmer Michelle Price said. â€œWe know weâ€™re better than that.â€
If the Rams are to perform well this week, they may need to do it without the services and leadership of senior long-distance swimmer Maddie Gamble. After being hit by a car on Tuesday, Gambleâ€™s status for this weekâ€™s conference tournament is in question.
No life-threatening injuries were sustained, but an injured knee is causing the senior to experience a severe amount of pain while pushing off the pool walls during turns.
â€œSheâ€™d be more upbeat and optimistic if it was the other way around and she could push off just fine,â€ head coach John Mattos said.
A fellow CSU student hit Gamble, according to Mattos.
Gamble has competed in distance freestyle and backstroke events this season and throughout her career.
â€œHaving our captain, who is a true leader and a tremendous young woman, be smacked down so absurdly, Iâ€™m thankful on the one hand that she didnâ€™t get hurt worse,â€ Mattos said. â€œBut now weâ€™re in a situation where weâ€™re trying to see if she can still make it (in the pool).â€
Gamble was visibly upset at practice and did not speak to reporters.
In spite of the situation with Gamble, CSUâ€™s senior swimmers and divers are still excited about the upcoming championships.
â€œItâ€™s both exciting and sad at the same time,â€ senior Sam Dole said. â€œIâ€™m so excited to be with this group of girls. Theyâ€™re so amazing, and Iâ€™ve learned a lot that I can use later on in life.â€
Junior Breann Fuller is one of the keys to the Rams success. Fuller won both the 100 and 200 backstroke events last year and is looking to defend her titles this season.
â€œIt definitely puts the pressure on,â€ Fuller said. â€œIâ€™m just going into the meet looking to relax, have fun and hopefully get some best times.â€
Sports writer Kyle Grabowski can be reached at email@example.com.