Courtesy: CSU Athletics
FORT COLLINS, Colo. – Christopher Woodard did not want to risk losing much-needed competitions, so the Colorado State women’s swimming and diving coach has altered for close to a guarantee as possible in the middle of a pandemic.
The Rams were slated to host Wyoming on Dec. 4 and Wyoming on Dec. 5 for a pair of meets at Moby Arena. But with COVID-19 numbers rising in Larimer County – possibly leading more restrictions – the meets have been moved to a double dual at the Air Force Academy on Dec. 4 at 5 p.m.
“We can host two meets, and we can bring 30-40 people from two different areas each time, or we can travel somewhere to a government instillation that doesn’t have those restrictions and then guarantee the meet,” Woodard said. “The only guarantee of not going is if we pause enough where we can’t travel, and if that happens, we wouldn’t be competing at home.”
Colorado State’s Pandemic Preparedness Team gave clearance for meets plans last week, but as of 5 p.m. Tuesday, Larimer County is moving to a status level or red, meaning high concern. Rather than risk losing the meets, Woodard found an alternate solution. The last date the county reported less than 100 new cases in a day was on Nov. 3.
The Rams are coming off a fifth-place finish at the Mountain West Championships back in February. It has been almost that long since many of the 31 members of the roster have competed, the main concern for Woodard. At the Championships, every member of the team scored at the meet, a first in Woodard’s tenure with the program.
“I don’t think we can afford going through 2020, which would now be more than 10 months without a competition,” Woodard said. “Some of these girls would not have swum at a competition since the Mountain West Conference meet. We need to hone our race and diving skills.”
Just as important for Woodard is getting the newest additions to the roster in action. The Rams have six freshmen swimmers and two freshmen divers, all of whom are slated to participate in the double dual.
“I can’t wait to see them on the boards and in the lanes,” Woodard said. “I’m not much of a gambler. I’m going to take the one guaranteed meet over two questionable ones.”
The team has already canceled a double dual slated for Jan 9 at Colorado School of Mines. The changes have cut the season to four scheduled duals (one a double with Air Force and New Mexico at the Air Force Academy) with one diving invitational. The 2021 Mountain West Championships are scheduled for Feb. 18-20 at two locations – swimming in Las Vegas, diving at the Air Force Academy.