Feb 282010
Authors: David de Besche

The CSU swimming and diving team’s season came to an end Saturday evening when the Mountain West Conference Championships concluded in Oklahoma City.

After four days of intense swimming, the Ram’s ended the Championships with a total of 366 team points, earning them sixth place overall.
The BYU Cougars took first with 704 points, defending its championship from last year, while rival Wyoming took home second place honors with 674 points.

Though CSU had a goal of a top-three finish, the Rams’ are pleased with their effort and results in Oklahoma City.

“We’re disappointed, but we left everything in the pool, and we walked away from this with a good feeling,” said sophomore Breann Fuller on the end results for the Rams.

All week the Rams were in the middle of the pack, topping the rankings at the end of Friday sitting in the fifth spot. But they would slip to sixth, where they would finish, on Saturday.

Five seemed to be the number for CSU relays, with fifth place finishes in the 200 Medley Relay, 200 Freestyle Relay and the 400 Medley Relay. These relays helped the Rams stand their ground in the rankings, with strong efforts from veterans.

Freshman Arianne Lujan, who was competing in her first conference championships, helped lead the Rams to a fifth place finish in a veteran-stacked 400 Medley Relay, including teammates Fuller, Nicole Lynch, and Jennifer Muniz, all of whom have competed at these MWC Championships before.

Although a freshman, Lujan, who also contributed with a seventh place finish in the 200 Individual Medley, came into the championships with high expectations.

“Coming in I wanted to do well. I had a lot of pressure and had high expectations for myself,” Lujan said. “I was very excited.”

Though the Rams were hoping for a better overall team finish, the swimmers broke personal records in Oklahoma City. Lynch topped her best time in the 200 IM, while in their last collegiate meet, seniors Mari Anna Loftness and Kathleen McCleary broke personal bests in the 200 IM and 500 Freestyle, respectively.

Fuller was the star for CSU, who after the four days of swimming, is bringing two individual MWC championships back to Fort Collins. Fuller took first in the 100 Backstroke, edging Leona Jennings of San Diego State by 43-tenths of a second, and also broke a CSU record set by herself when she took home her second gold in the 200 Backstroke.

“Breann was a champion tonight. She swam really well,” said CSU coach John Mattos Saturday.

Fuller and the Rams had a solid season, finishing third in the dual meet standings and a sixth place finish in the Championships. CSU will be losing nine seniors from this team, and though the team is happy with this year, they are excited for next season already.

“It is bittersweet losing the seniors. We are glad we did so well this year,” Fuller said. “We really left everything we had in the pool, but we definitely have fuel for next year.”

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

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