The CSU swimming and diving team has a lot of potential going into the 2002-2003 season. Its first preseason function takes place this weekend at the Ram 5,000 Fundraiser.
The event’s purpose is to raise money from the team’s booster club and sponsors for the upcoming season. The swimmers prove themselves worthy of the donations by continuously swimming 200 laps of 25 meters each. The swimmers will be timed and it is a good way to kick-off the season.
The divers will also be working hard by continuously diving all day.
Even though the team lost some key seniors, 10 of 16 swimmers and all four divers that competed in last year’s Mountain West Conference Championship are returning. The Rams finished third at the championships last year and according to head coach John Mattos, the squad is stronger than ever.
The team will be lead by a strong core of nine seniors, including last year’s Mountain West first-team all-conference members, Kristin Knudson and Karin Larka.
Kirsten Schneider tops the list of the solid junior class as she set the school record for 200-meter IM and won the MWC title in the 100-meter back stoke last year.
Many new freshmen joined the team this year and will combine with the sophomores to provide a young team that will be a force to be reckoned with.
Sophomore Sarah DeLapp is excited for the season to start.
“I think we can do really good this year,” she said. “We have a pretty young team and a lot of seniors graduated last year, but I think we have a big future. Hopefully we can turn some heads.”
Mattos agrees, as he enters his 23rd year in the program and believes that the team has all the pieces necessary to finally receive the national attention the team deserves. The Rams’ goal is to take home the Mountain West Conference title for the first time in school history.
The diving team also has high expectations and is eager for the season to begin. Five freshmen were added to the team last year and have built a strong enough program that no new additions were made this year.
Senior Erin Shumway will lead the team along with junior Lori Anderson and the strong class of sophomores including Kara Crisp, Liz Kidner, Hope Stafford and Meghan Trucco.
Trucco likes the team’s odds this year and thinks the team’s closeness will be an advantage.
“This year is going pretty good so far and we have been training hard,” she said. “We don’t have to make any adjustments this year and we can just focus on diving.”
CSU will have one more preseason event when it has the annual Alumni Meet Oct. 12. Its first competition is on Oct. 18 in the Early Bird Invitational at Edora Pool Ice Center.
The Rams will then host Notre Dame on Oct. 25 at Moby before traveling to the Air Force Academy in early November.
-Edited by Jon Ackerman and Josh Hardin