Haley Rowley leads CSU to fifth-place finish in MW Championship

Evan Grant

The Colorado State women’s swimming and diving team travelled to San Antonio, Texas to compete in the Mountain West Swimming and Diving Tournament from Feb. 14-17, finishing fifth in the meet to match their best placement under head coach Woody Woodard.

A girl sweems freestyle in the pool.
Haley Rowley of CSU took a commanding lead in the 1000-meter freestyle during the meet against the Air Force Falcons on Friday, January 26, 2018. She went on to win the event by over 30 seconds. (Josh Schroeder | Collegian)

The weekend was filled with broken records for the Rams. Junior Haley Rowley shined in the 400 IM with a time of 4:10.67, breaking the CSU record for the second time in one day having already broken the record in a preliminary round earlier.

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Rowley finished first in this event beating San Diego State’s McKenna Meyer by over two seconds in the competition. Rowley became CSU’s first individual event winner at the Mountain West Championship since Tove Tornstrom won the 200 butterfly in 2012.

Rowley was joined by her teammate, junior Tonicia Thomas, as the top performing Rams of the weekend. Thomas placed second in the 100 backstroke after finishing in the first seed during the preliminary rounds. Thomas finished the preliminaries with a time of 52.94, outing the former record held by Brennan Fuller by a time of .01 seconds.

“Toni has been an emotional spark plug for the team and she fought for and deserves that record,” Woodard said.

With the efforts of Thomas and Rowley, the Rams finished off the first day of the competition in fifth on the leaderboard, having come into the day at the eighth spot.

Another Ram to break a record during the tournament was freshman Maddie Ward. Ward finished the 100 backstroke with a time of 1:01.44 to set another program record. Her time added another 26 points for the Rams giving her the fourth-place finish in the event.

Three other Rams scored in the 400 IM. Junior Ida Donohue finished 10th with a time of 4:21.84, freshman Jennae Fredrick finished 14th with a time of 4:23.70 in the preliminary rounds and sophmore Andrea Basile finished 21st with a time of 4:26.12.

Sophmore Marie Goodwyn also finished in fourth for the Rams with a time of 4:15.99 in the preliminaries making her the fastest swimmer in the 400 IM besides teammate Rowley.

“We are very proud of them,” CSU assistant coach Mackenzie Novell said of the 400 IM crew. “All the IMers knew they put in the work during the season and they swam confident and fearless races. They were well-supported by each other and the team. They take pride in their training, and it really shows in days like today.”

CSU’s records were all topped off with Haley Rowley being named Mountain West Swimmer of the Meet. Rowley posted the second-fastest 1650-yard freestyle in conference history with a time of 16:15.50.

All in all, the weekend did not end up the way the Rams hoped. Despite the big day on Friday, CSU finished off the week in fifth place collecting 709 points over the three-day competition. Boise State finished first with 1,250 points for its second consecutive victory in the tournament.

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Collegian sports reporter Evan Grant can be reached at sports@collegian.com or on Twitter @EGrantSports.