COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. – Coming off an eighth-place finish at The Mountain West Swimming & Diving Championships, five Colorado State Rams earned a total of seven all-conference awards for top-eight results.
Seniors Ariana Milone (1-meter and 3-meter springboard) and Jessica Shepard (100 Back), junior Jenna Beaury (100 and 200 Breast) and freshmen Ida Donohue (1,650 Free) and Mackenzie Halligan (400 IM) all received recognition. The Rams had two more athletes earn all-Mountain West honors than a year ago, and three more total honors.
One of Head Coach Christopher Woodard’s takeaways from the meet was the development of his athletes during their careers at CSU.
“Hopefully what it shows is that if you stay with us and you stay motivated and hungry, that within four years you will continue to improve,” Woodard said. “That’s the message; that you can and should progress over your four years here. Just look at Jessica and Ariana, who went out with arguably their best performances. You can and will improve here, if you devote yourself to it. And you need to, because the Mountain West is one of the most quickly improving conferences. I’m very happy for the seniors, and I’m thrilled for Jenna heading into her senior year that she’s on the cusp of doing some really amazing things.”
Woodard added that the performances by his freshmen show that not only can swimmers and divers build on their talents at CSU, but they can utilize them immediately and make an impact.
“For freshmen, we don’t put the weight of the world on them, certainly,” Woodard said. “But you can come in and contribute right away, and you shouldn’t necessarily need to wait until your junior and senior year.”
The contribution of the freshmen helped CSU tally numerous top times for the season, and also added quite a few new names to the Rams record books. Woodard acknowledged that this trend is league-wide, and that the Mountain West is on an upward trajectory.
“I think it shows when we record 15 top-five times in school history, knocking out kids from the 1990’s and 2000’s who were on winning teams, that it shows that the conference is picking up the pace pretty rapidly,” Woodard stated.
Milone earned all-conference honors in both the 1-meter and 3-meter for the second straight season. Milone placed seventh in the 1-meter dive (286.40) and third in the 3-meter (344.10). She finishes her career with six total all-league awards, with three in each discipline. Milone also ends her career as CSU’s record holder in both the 1-meter and 3-meter springboard events, and will compete at the NCAA Diving Zones for the fourth straight year.
Shepard placed sixth in the 100 Back with an NCAA B Cut time of 54.25, and posted the second-best mark in CSU history in the event with a 53.89 in the preliminaries. Shepard was also an all-conference recipient as a sophomore in 2014, also in the 100 Back.
Beaury, who had already recorded an NCAA B cut time in the 200 Breast in November, earned her first two career all-conference honors in both the 100 and 200 Breast. Beaury’s time in the 100 Breast, 1:02.43, ranks third all-time at CSU, while her top 200 Breast time (from November, 2:15.16) ranks second. Beaury finished fifth and seventh in the 100 and 200 Breast, respectively.
Donohue placed seventh in the 1,650 Free with a time of 16:48.92. Her time is fourth-best in CSU history and the top time since 2012.
Halligan placed eighth in the 400 IM finals. Her prelim time of 4:23.84 was the best by any CSU athlete this season.
The complete list of Mountain West honorees can be found here.
Swimming news courtesy of CSU Swimming & Diving.