Rams to host Senior Day Saturday vs. New Mexico

“Kunio is just in his second year and has done a really great job at recruiting talent and just getting the most out of his athletes,” Head Coach Christopher Woodard<http://www.csurams.com/sports/w-swim/mtt/christopher_woodard_757297.html> said. “They line up pretty well against us; a lot of their strengths are our strengths. It’s going to be incumbent upon our top kids to be ready and pull out those first-place wins and our second and third swimmers to gut out tough seconds, thirds and fourths. It’s becoming a rivalry, and I like that. It’s good for us.”

Entering the 2011-12 season, CSU had won 18 straight competitions vs. New Mexico, but each of the past two seasons, the Lobos have finished one spot ahead of the Rams at the Mountain West Championships. CSU will have its first shot at revenge Saturday.

Coming off wins against North Texas (220.5-79.5) and Tulane (223-76) at San Diego State’s Aztec Aquaplex last weekend, the Rams have proved they can swim well, even in the second half of the season when fatigue sets in.

“At San Diego State I think we did a really good job taking advantage of swimming at altitude and swimming tough in the middle of winter training and not letting our foot off the pedal when we got a lead,” Woodard said. “I’m looking for more of the same. Now it becomes more about who can swim tired, who can swim sick, who can swim injured, who can make a case for making the scoring team at conference. I expected them to show more than just race strategy, but a little grit and toughness.”

The Rams will also honor Yana Garvey<http://www.csurams.com/sports/w-swim/mtt/yana_garvey_719931.html>, Madeline Mastrup<http://www.csurams.com/sports/w-swim/mtt/madeline_mastrup_719932.html>, Ailey Ruger<http://www.csurams.com/sports/w-swim/mtt/ailey_ruger_728077.html> and Maxelise Thorn<http://www.csurams.com/sports/w-swim/mtt/maxelise_thorn_719935.html> on Saturday, the team’s four graduating seniors.

“They’ve all been with the program for four years, and they’ve done a great job. It’s going to be tough to move on without them, but it’ll be a good send off for them,” Woodard said.

Fast start
With a 4-3 dual-meet record, CSU is off to its best start to a season since 2008-09. Through seven meets, CSU was 6-1 that year before finishing 8-2. This season’s win total is already twice as many as a year ago.

Milone named MW Diver of the Week
Diver Ariana Milone<http://www.csurams.com/sports/w-swim/mtt/ariana_milone_826816.html> was named Mountain West Women’s Diver of the Week for the second time this season and third time of her career on Wednesday.

Milone, still just a sophomore, is the first CSU diver to win two weekly awards in one season since Lori Vigil was named diver of the week three times during the 2002-03 season. Milone was also recognized after her first collegiate meet last season, making her the second diver in program history to earn at least three career honors. Vigil was recognized four times during her career.

The native of The Woodlands, Texas, won six events in three dual-meet competitions last weekend, earning first place on the 1-Meter and 3-Meter boards against North Texas, San Diego State and Tulane. The six top finishes – out of six possible events – helped CSU pick up dominating victories over North Texas (220.5-79.5) and Tulane (223-76). The Rams fell just short against undefeated San Diego State (149-137), the reigning Mountain West champions.

With the wins, CSU improved to 4-3 on the season, CSU’s best record through seven dual meets since going 6-1 in 2009-10.

Milone earned a score of 267.50 on the 1-meter springboard and 290.95 on the 3-meter. Both are NCAA Zone Qualifying scores. As a team, CSU swept the 3-meter event, and took first, second and fourth in the 1-meter.

The award is the second by a CSU athlete this season. Jessica Shepard<http://www.csurams.com/sports/w-swim/mtt/jessica_shepard_826817.html> is CSU’s first MW Women’s Swimmer of the Week since Jennifer Muniz<http://www.csurams.com/sports/w-swim/mtt/jennifer_muniz_385141.html>, in 2009. Shepard earned her recognition against Northern Arizona on Nov 9, winning every event she raced in.

Weekend rewind: CSU picks up two wins in San Diego
The Colorado State swimming & diving team competed on Friday for the first time in seven weeks, but had little rust to shake off, going 2-1 at Aztec Aquaplex. The Rams earned convincing wins over North Texas (220.5-79.5) and Tulane (223-76), and fell just short against undefeated San Diego State (149-137), the reigning Mountain West champions.

“I’m really pleased with our performances today,” Head Coach Christopher Woodard<http://www.csurams.com/sports/w-swim/mtt/christopher_woodard_757297.html> said. “There were a couple swims I think we gave up, but overall, I’m very happy.”

CSU had several key performances on the day, but the biggest were saved for the end. CSU athletes took first in each of the final four events, allowing the team to build on its two leads and make a comeback attempt against the Aztecs that eventually ran out of events.

“Our girls weren’t satisfied once they had the lead,” Woodard said. “They continued to pour it on.”

In the 100 Butterfly, the 13th event of the day, junior Tess Simpson<http://www.csurams.com/sports/w-swim/mtt/tess_simpson_770144.html> earned the Rams’ first top finish, winning with a time of 58:04. The Rams also won the 200 IM (Jessica Shepard<http://www.csurams.com/sports/w-swim/mtt/jessica_shepard_826817.html>, 2:10.90) and 400 Freestyle Relay (3:33.95), in addition to 3-Meter Diving.

“Our divers were absolutely fantastic,” Woodard said. “It was a nice re-introduction to the Mountain West for Melissa Bollig<http://www.csurams.com/sports/w-swim/mtt/melissa_bollig_845063.html>, and we had a lot of great swims from several athletes.”

CSU swept the 3-meter event, claiming the top three spots, led by sophomore Ariana Milone<http://www.csurams.com/sports/w-swim/mtt/ariana_milone_826816.html> (290.95). Finishing second was junior transfer Melissa Bollig<http://www.csurams.com/sports/w-swim/mtt/melissa_bollig_845063.html> (254.35). It was Bollig’s first-ever meet with the Rams after missing the first half of the season due to NCAA transfer rules.

Allison Arnold’s<http://www.csurams.com/sports/w-swim/mtt/allison_arnold_845038.html> time in the 1000 Freestyle was CSU’s best of the season by nearly 12 seconds. Yana Garvey<http://www.csurams.com/sports/w-swim/mtt/yana_garvey_719931.html> (200 Backstroke, 2:03.55) and Megan Lloyd<http://www.csurams.com/sports/w-swim/mtt/megan_lloyd_845035.html> (200 Breaststroke, 2:21.06) also had CSU’s top times of the season on Friday. Although she had already qualified, Milone’s scores on both boards once again were NCAA Zones qualifying.

Looking ahead
CSU will face its Border War rival, the Wyoming Cowgirls, Saturday, Jan. 25 in Laramie, Wyo. CSU will look to beat the Cowgirls for the first time since the 2008-09 season.

This release was provided to 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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