There are two words that describe the NCAA Finals trip for junior swimmer Kristen Schneider and head coach John Mattos: bad timing.
It all started last Tuesday morning when Schneider was scheduled to fly to Georgia to compete at the NCAA Finals held at Auburn University March 19-21. She thought she would get there and have a day to prepare and swim some laps, but the weather had other plans.
At first, their flight was delayed. Then cancelled. Then they were forced to stay at a hotel near Denver International Airport on Tuesday night and hope for a flight out on Wednesday. After a few feet of snow fell, DIA shut down and it was clear they were not going anywhere that day.
By Thursday afternoon, they were finally able to get another flight, but they had to drive an hour and fly out of Colorado Springs. That night, they finally reached their hotel in Georgia around midnight. Schneider was scheduled to swim the 100- and 200-yard backstroke in just a few hours.
“Normally we get there early and swimmers get to swim and prepare for their events,” Mattos said. “She had no preparation and you really need that for the NCAA Finals.”
In her first competition, the 100-yard backstroke, Schneider was disqualified and forced to put all of her hopes in the 200-yard backstroke. Her second try was more successful as she finished 36th with a time of 2:01.05. The time failed to advance her to the final round, but at least made the trip worthwhile.
“I am just happy that she is only a junior and that wasn’t her last opportunity,” Mattos said.
Schneider had a standout year by setting a new CSU and Mountain West Conference record in the 200-yard IM at 2:01.34, qualifying for the MWC All-Conference team in seven events, and being named MWC swimmer of the week.
The Rams finished with a 7-4 overall record (6-1 conference) and won the Early Bird Invitational. CSU took second place behind UNLV at the conclusion of the regular season and took second behind BYU at the MWC Championship.
“We had a great season, but it ended on a sour note,” Mattos said. “It was good to see Colorado get some snow, but the timing wasn’t good.”
The divers also ended their season when senior Erin Shumway and junior Lori Vigil competed in the NCAA Zone E Diving Regionals in Oklahoma City, Okla., March 14-15. Shumway finished 26th and Vigil took 30th on the one-meter board with scores of 204.7 and 191.05, respectively.
On the three-meter board Shumway took 25th, scoring 218.9 points, and Vigil took 30th, scoring 202.2 points. Since neither finished in the top 18, neither qualified for the final round.
The meet marked Shumway’s last diving competition as a Ram and she will end her four years going out on top as the diving captain and NCAA Finalist.