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Preview: Swim and dive heads to Mountain West championship

Colorado+State+University+swimmers+cheer+for+the+last+time+during+the+2023+Mountain+West+Swimming+%26+Diving+Championships+in+the+Campus+Recreation+and+Wellness+Center+Natatorium+at+the+University+of+Houston+Feb.+18.
Collegian | Tri Duong
Colorado State University swimmers cheer for the last time during the 2023 Mountain West Swimming & Diving Championships in the Campus Recreation and Wellness Center Natatorium at the University of Houston Feb. 18.

They say everything is bigger in Texas, and for Colorado State swim and dive, the biggest competition of the year is located in the Lone Star State.

The Mountain West Swimming and Diving Championships kick off Feb. 21 at the Campus Recreation & Wellness Center Natatorium in Houston and lasts for three days.

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During the three days, swimmers will demonstrate their skills in hopes of winning an event; after all, CSU has not had an individual conference champion since 2019, when Maddie Ward won the 200-meter breaststroke. However, even loftier goals, like qualifying for the NCAA championships with an A or B time, are in the sights of many swimmers.

But who at CSU could qualify for the NCAA competition?

Maya White (No. 1 in 1,650-meter freestyle in MW)

Maya White, a junior and a mainstay for distance freestyle on the CSU swim and dive team, has a real chance of qualifying for the NCAAs during her time at the MW championships.

According to White’s fastest time of the year — achieved at the Hawkeye Invitational back in November — White is within the B time for the NCAAs. She boasts a 16:30.35 for the 1,650-meter freestyle when the qualifying time is 16:30.59.

However, to win the event, White will have to stay ahead of Ava Olson, a first-year at UNLV who also meets the B qualifications with a 16:30.55 in 1,650 free.

Surprisingly enough, that is not White’s fastest time. She holds the second spot in CSU’s record books for three events: 500 free, 1,000 free and 1,650 free after Haley Rowley.

Erin Dawson (No. 1 in 400-meter individual medley in MW)

Erin Dawson, another teammate who is well within the reach of the B qualifying time, is a junior focusing on freestyle, butterfly and individual medley. She has a 4:15.35 in the 400-meter IM — two full seconds ahead of the B qualifying time of 4:17.30. 

Like White, Dawson achieved this time during the Hawkeye Invitational. In order to win the event, Dawson will have to fend off Mai McKenna, a junior from San Diego State with a time of 4:18.13 in the same event.

Along with White, Dawson has multiple records in the CSU record book: fourth in the 200 IM and third in the 400 IM. 

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Lucy Matheson (No. 5 in 50-meter fly and 100-meter fly in MW)

Lucy Matheson, a major point-getter for CSU, holds the No. 5 spot in both the 50-meter fly and 100-meter fly in the MW. For Matheson, the 100 fly is crucial, as all four ahead of her qualify for the B time in the NCAAs.

To get on the pedestal for 100 fly, Matheson will have to overcome a familiar face. McKenna from SDSU has the fourth spot with a time of 53.53 — a second ahead of Matheson’s 54.43 — and Yasmin Perry from Nevada holds a 53.50. 

If she wants to get into the top three of the 50 fly, she only needs a 21st of a second. Her 25.47, compared to No. 4 Evonne Stehr’s 25.28 from SDSU and No. 3 Allana Clarke’s 25.26 from Air Force, is closing in on the top three times.

Lexie Trietley (No. 2 in 50-meter freestyle in MW)

Lexie Trietley, a sophomore, holds the Moby Pool record for 50-meter freestyle, previously held by CSU Hall of Famer and six-time Olympic gold medalist Amy Van Dyken. That record built upon the strong foundation she set her first year, when she made No. 3 in both 50 free and 100 free in the CSU record book. 

As for the MW, Trietley is No. 2 after Meredith Smithbaker from SDSU, who has a time of 22.24. Overcoming Smithbaker is not the only thing Trietley is looking toward; like White, Dawson and Matheson, she’s well within a B provisional times for the 50 and 100 free.

The stiff cutoff of 22.67 for the 50 free and 49.36 for the 100 free is something only two people in the MW qualify for: Smithbaker for the 50 free and Maria Fernanda Mendez Guerra from UNLV for the 100 free with a time of 49.18 — 0.58 seconds faster than Trietley’s time.

Reach Liv Sewell at sports@collegian.com or on Twitter @Liv_sewell22.

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About the Contributor
Tri Duong, Co-Photo Director
Tri Duong is a fifth-year journalism student with a minor in chemistry and is profoundly intrigued by the art of documenting life one frame at a time. Duong was born and raised in Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam, where reunification would one day bring about his family move to Loveland, Colorado, in 2007. For 14 years, his family was separated due to the aftermath of the Vietnam War. Coming from a different country has given him a deeper insight to life and the way of being. In fifth grade, Duong discovered photography through an after-school class, which led to his journey to becoming a photojournalist today. Whether it is photographing the ordinary walks of daily life or the harsh rambles of the world, Duong will always adhere to a certain philosophy: The product must preserve the liveliness of a worthy moment in the truest and most authentic way possible, or else it is not life. Working for The Collegian, Duong aspires to bring storytellers and journalists to develop their inspiration of visual communication through an ethical scope. Documentation of fragile and vulnerable reality is fascinating evidence for existence; therefore, it is critical to respect the nature of its realness. In his free time, Duong takes an interest in beekeeping, bartending and traveling as a way to explore the vast unknown of this world. Duong hopes to learn more about the storytellers he comes by at work or school. Everyone carries with them a unique tale of experience, and it would be lovely to hear who they are and how they ended up here.

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