Air Force edges CSU in last dual-meet of the season

The Colorado State swimming & diving team closed its dual-meet season on Saturday, falling at home to Air Force, 176.5-123.5. Despite the loss, the Rams finished the regular season with a dual-meet record of 6-5, their most victories and first winning record since 2009-10.

“We fought hard today,” Head Swim Coach Christopher Woodard<> said. “I think there were definitely some bright spots, but there were some missed opportunities, for sure. Whenever I see swimmers fail to execute a race plan, false start or have their goggles fill up with water . . . those are things that happen, but at this point we can’t really excuse them. I don’t want to take anything away from Air Force; they’ve been swimming well all season, they were ready for us and they did a great job.”

CSU opened the meet equally paired with the Falcons (17-3). The Rams swam past their opponent in the first event of the day, the 200 Medley Relay, taking first place by more than a second. The first eight events were back-and-forth, and at the midway point, the two teams were locked in a tight battle with Air Force holding a slim lead, 75.5-74.5.

It was all Air Force in the second half, however, as the Falcons took first place in each of the remaining events.

“I can’t comment on Air Force, because I don’t know where Casey (Converse, head coach) is with his team,” Woodard said, “but we’re not rested and I know we’re injured. We had a couple girls I had to pull out of events, we have a couple girls either heading into illness or recovering. The clock doesn’t care about that though.”

CSU has competed in seven dual meets in the past 23 days, including two meets in the past 24 hours following a victory over Northern Colorado Friday night.

Despite fighting fatigue, sophomore Felicia Gilson<> (2:09.13) had the strongest swim of her career in the 200 Butterfly, placing second, just behind fellow Ram Megan Lloyd<> (2:07.11), who had the second-best swim of her young career. Additionally, Jessica Shepard<> (100 Backstroke) and Ariana Milone<> (1-Meter diving) won individual events.

The divers competed from Colorado Springs, in the two-day, 16-team Air Force Diving Invitational. Scores for CSU and Air Force divers were added to the dual-meet score from Moby Pool.

“We talked to the girls after the meet again about the things that were not acceptable, but to also realize that there was some fight in this team, and that they deserved to finish 6-5, above .500 for the first time in four years,” Woodard said. “We need them to hang their hats on that, and realize that the work will show up when it comes time for conference if they do the right things from now until then.”

CSU’s 6-5 dual-meet record is the best of Woodard’s three-year career as head coach of the Rams. It is a drastic improvement from last year’s squad, which went 2-7.

Although the dual-meet season can be put to rest, Moby Pool will be anything but restful as the team enters training for the Mountain West Championships, February 19-22 in San Antonio, Texas. The Rams will again face Air Force, as well as the conference’s nine other teams.

“When you get to this point of the year – I know myself when I was a swimmer, and I think most of the athletes share it – you’re just chopping at the bit,” Woodard said. “You just so want to be rested, you want to feel good, you want to race fast. Other than Christmas, taper time is the best time of the year. It’s time to get ready for our main goal.”

This release was provided SwimSwam courtesy of CSU Swimming and Diving.

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About Gold Medal Mel Stewart

Gold Medal Mel Stewart

MEL STEWART Jr., aka Gold Medal Mel, won three Olympic medals at the 1992 Olympic Games. Mel's best event was the 200 butterfly. He is a former World, American, and NCAA Record holder in the 200 butterfly. As a writer/producer and sports columnist, Mel has contributed to Yahoo Sports, Universal Sports, …

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