Feb 232010
Authors: David de Besche

Destination: Oklahoma City.

That’s where the CSU swimming and diving team is heading today with a big week in the water in their sights. Beginning today and running through Saturday, the Rams will be competing in the MWC Championships, a four-day, 21-event meet that will crown the best of the Mountain West.

After two weeks made up of purely training for this week, the Rams are ready to go.

“(The MWC Championships) came up really fast,” junior swimmer Nicole Lynch said on finally being in Oklahoma City. “It’s a relief to be here, we’re excited and ready to go.”

Since their last dual meet against Wyoming, the Rams have spent the last two weeks gearing down their workouts and just cleaning up their strokes and dives preparing for the championships.

“The last couple of weeks, we have really tapered and prepared ourselves physically,” Lynch said on the change in preparation. “You just have to trust your work and know you will be ready.”

The Rams are heading into the championships in third place in the MWC, holding an 8-2 (6-2 MWC) record, with their only losses coming against the conference leading BYU Cougars and rival Wyoming Cowgirls.

CSU has 18 swimmers or divers representing the green and gold in Oklahoma. The Rams will rely on experience to be an advantage with 14 of their 18 swimmers having previously competed in a conference championship meet. Among the four Rams without experience is freshman diver Madeline Mitchell, who has been waiting for this particular meet all year long.

“I am really excited to be here and honored to have this opportunity,” Mitchell said. “My goal is to final on platform tower diving. I only get around two opportunities a year for tower, so I am excited for that.”

Last year the Rams went into the meet sitting in third place in the conference standings, like this year, but at the meet CSU finished the week placing fifth. Hopes are high this year after a spectacular regular season, and the Rams hope they can cap it off with a top finish when the water settles Saturday.

“Last year we placed fifth,” Lynch said. “I would love to finish top three.”

The Rams have put in the effort all season, grinding towards the finish and this week they have their chance to prove they are a top team in the MWC.

“Their motto all season has been ‘keep on grinding,’” coach John Mattos said. “They have done that no doubt. Certainly their goal is to perform as a team at the championships and leave everything we possibly can that pool and let the results come.”

So if the Rams can “keep on grinding” for one more week, it may just earn them a top spot in the Mountain West.

The Mountain West Conference Swimming and Diving Championships begin today at 10 a.m. and will conclude this Saturday with the day’s finals starting at 6 p.m. The MWC Championships are held at the Oklahoma City Community College Pool.

Swimming and Diving Beat Reporter David de Besche can be reached at sports@collegian.com.

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