Feb 222011
 
Authors: Kyle Grabowski

It’s always nice to go out with a splash, and that’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.

“We kind of want to redeem ourselves,” senior swimmer Michelle Price said. “We know we’re better than that.”

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, Gamble’s status for this week’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.

“She’d be more upbeat and optimistic if it was the other way around and she could push off just fine,” 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.

“Having our captain, who is a true leader and a tremendous young woman, be smacked down so absurdly, I’m thankful on the one hand that she didn’t get hurt worse,” Mattos said. “But now we’re in a situation where we’re trying to see if she can still make it (in the pool).”

Gamble was visibly upset at practice and did not speak to reporters.

In spite of the situation with Gamble, CSU’s senior swimmers and divers are still excited about the upcoming championships.

“It’s both exciting and sad at the same time,” senior Sam Dole said. “I’m so excited to be with this group of girls. They’re so amazing, and I’ve learned a lot that I can use later on in life.”

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.

“It definitely puts the pressure on,” Fuller said. “I’m just going into the meet looking to relax, have fun and hopefully get some best times.”

Sports writer Kyle Grabowski can be reached at sports@collegian.com.

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