Change is good?

Mav swimmers will see if new training style works this week at RMAC Championships

Colorado Mesa’s Kelly Hogan hopes a new training program helps her cut her times to earn a berth in the NCAA Division II national championships.

There were some trying times this season, but Colorado Mesa University senior Kelly Hogan persevered through a different training program under new coach Ron Allen and expects it to pay off this weekend.

“It was tough,” Hogan said. “There were definitely times I didn’t think I’d make practice with the Crossfit workouts coach brought to us. I’ve never done any style of training like this before.

“Overall I swam more yards (than past years). We’ll see if it helps.”

The Mavericks host the Rocky Mountain Athletic Conference Swimming & Diving Championships beginning at 4 p.m. today at El Pomar Natatorium. The championships continue through Saturday with preliminary swims at 9:30 a.m. and finals at 5 p.m. It is the last chance for the Mavericks to qualify for the NCAA Division II national championships in three weeks.

None of Mesa’s swimmers has qualified for nationals yet, but a few are closing in on qualifying times. They hope to join Maverick divers Brock Martin, Ryan Popp, Amanda Jennings and Savannah Craft at nationals.

Hogan is one of the swimmers getting close to a national qualifying standard. She’s qualified the past two years in the 200-, 500- and 1,000-yard freestyles. This time, she’s hoping a women’s teammate will join her, such as junior Briana Purkapile, who should be competitive in the 200 and 400 individual medley and the 200 butterfly.

“Kelly’s been a leader,” Allen said. “It seems to me, she’s been a rock on the team. The women’s team has been able to rely on her. She’s a great leader by example. She has a great work ethic.

“She seems to have a lot of confidence in the style of training she’s been offered this year. She is walking into the conference championships with a lot of confidence. She’s one of those people that steps up in those situations.”

Hogan is ranked fifth in the 200 freestyle, sixth in the 500 freestyle and eighth in the 1,000 freestyle in the RMAC.

“I’ve had a lot of fun, met a lot of new friends and accomplished goals I never thought I could’ve done in my college career,” Hogan said. “I’m proud of myself for making it this far and achieving goals, like going to nationals.”

She is one of two seniors on the Mavericks who have competed for four years in the program. The other is Justin Skall. Senior Danielle Shabelski has applied for a medical hardship and is expected to return next year.

Allen had a few women quit the team, but the Mavericks still hope they can finish third behind nationally ranked Incarnate Word and Grand Canyon, RMAC affiliate members. Both programs are going NCAA Division I next year.

“I know they have it in their heads to beat Adams (State),” Allen said. “We’ll probably be neck and neck.”

The Mesa men’s team is hoping to finish third behind Incarnate Word and Grand Canyon. The Mavericks will have to beat out Colorado School of Mines.

“Mines will be right there with us,” Allen said. “Our primary goal is to beat Mines.”

Mesa is led by junior Brett Lowe. The Diablo Valley (Calif.) College transfer was an All-American in seven events and was an All-American in high school.

“He is a very quiet, hard, hard worker,” Allen said. “He is easy to coach. He is very driven. Putting that drive together with the talent he has, he’s going to do well.”

Lowe redshirted last year. This year, he was reacquainted with a similar training style he grew up learning.

“The training is almost like the training I had back home,” he said. “It’s not too much overtraining for me, but he’s a great coach. He knows what he’s doing.”

Lowe will compete in the 100 and 200 breaststroke and the 200 individual medley. He is seeded ninth in both breaststrokes.

“I’m getting pumped,” Lowe said. “My goals are to come close to the A cut for nationals. I’m one or two seconds off it in both events.”

Junior Rob Eisendrath expects to be competitive in the 100 and 200 backstroke. He is seeded fourth in the 100 and sixth in the 200.

“We’re very excited to see some great time drops,” Allen said. “It’s a matter of how many. We’re going to see some amazing swims. It’s going to be phenomenal if it’s a vast majority of them.

“There’s a lot of coaches out there that will give you statistics and predictions on exactly how fast kids are going to go. I try not to do that. Every year is different.”

The Mavericks have rested for up to four weeks.

“They’re not accustomed to this, so they are weirded out right now,” Allen said. “I think they will be pleasantly surprised.”


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