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Rams look to build championship tradition in the pool

A Colorado State swimmer participates in the butterfly event against the University of Denver on Oct. 21. The Rams were defeated by the Pioneers. (Erica Giesenhagen | Collegian)

The Colorado State swimming & diving team began their season in early October with the Intermountain Shootout before hosting their first home meet against the University of Denver last weekend. Entering his seventh year as the program’s head coach, Christopher Woodard has high expectations for the season.

Woodard got his first look at the freshman class, and the 2017-18 team as a whole, during a successful Intermountain Shootout on Oct. 6-7. The Rams earned victories against BYU and Colorado Mesa University at the event by scores of 232.50-159.50 and 280.00-113.00, respectively. During the invitational, the Rams earned seven individual victories and one relay victory.

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On Oct. 21, the Rams fell to the University of Denver in the first home event of the season. Despite the loss, CSU earned five individual victories and swept both the one-meter and the three-meter diving events.

After graduating ten seniors following the 2017 season, the 2017-18 squad is filled with youth. The Rams brought in nine freshman this year, and the group has been meshing well, according to Woodard. Through two events of the season, Woodard has been impressed with his team’s performance.

“Most notable has been the emergence of some of our freshmen,” Woodard said. “Especially Maddison Ward, she won the 200-meter breaststroke against DU and is ranked No. 1 in the Mountain West right now.”

Returning members have also stood out early in the season, including sophomore Marie Goodwyn. The Colorado native competes in eight different events for the Rams. As a nationally ranked swimmer, she figures to be a big part of the team’s success this season.

Woodard and the rest of the coaching staff hope to educate such a young team on the tradition and expectations previous classes have set up. The Rams team may be young, but they will look to continue the success of teams in the past that have risen in the Mountain West standings the last three years. The team is excited to prove that they can continue to rise.

“One of the standards for this team is to climb the conference ranks,” Woodard said. “We’ve come from tenth to eighth to fifth this past year.”

Along with traditional rivals of DU, Air Force and Wyoming, the Rams will also compete with some teams they are less familiar with. On Nov. 3, the Rams will host the University of Houston for the first time ever. Two weeks later, CSU will travel to Flagstaff, Ariz. to take on Northern Arizona for just the second time in program history. 

Up next for the Rams is a road contest against Wyoming on Oct. 26. 

Collegian sports reporter Tyler Johnson can be reached by email at sports@collegian.com or on Twitter @TylerGjohnson20.

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