Depth charge

Solid finishes by deep CMU men key at RMAC Championships

Colorado Mesa’s Ryan Gifford takes a breath Thursday during the butterfly portion of the 400-yard individual medley at the RMAC Swimming and Diving Championships at El Pomar Natatorium. Gifford finished third in 4 minutes, 2.41 seconds, one of several top-3 finishes for the Mavs.



Colorado Mesa’s Abi Young dives in to start the 400-yard individual medley during the RMAC Swimming and Diving Championships at El Pomar Natatorium.



They’re young, but they’re hungry.

The Colorado Mesa University men’s swimming and diving team illustrated its depth Thursday during the second of four days at the RMAC Swimming and Diving Championships at El Pomar Natatorium.

Several high placers in individual events and solid performances by relay teams have the men in third, only 15 points behind second-place Cal Baptist.

The CMU women also sit in third place, trailing Lindenwood by a large margin.

Mesa sophomore Kyle Johnston placed third in the men’s 200-yard freestyle with a time of 1 minute, 40.49 seconds.

Johnston said the men’s and women’s teams fed off the noisy crowd, adding the men are getting more excited as they close in on Cal Baptist.

“Everybody is swimming out of their minds,” Johnston said. “We have a lot of guys putting up lifetime bests, and we’re getting a lot of guys hoping to make it to nationals. We’re swimming as a team, and everybody is cheering.”

Ryan Gifford finished third for CMU in the 400 individual medley, and Sky Hirsch took third in the men’s 100 butterfly with a time of 49.15.

Mavericks coach Ron Allen said Johnston, who was fifth in the 200 freestyle preliminaries, helped CMU by finishing higher in the final.

Allen added high finishes in finals helped Mesa in the team standings for men and women.

“The men moving up in the 200 free was huge,” Allen said. “And both the men’s and the women’s 100 fly, we had finishes that certainly weren’t expected. We’ve had a lot of people swimming great, and I think we’re all really excited.”

Mesa swimmers also broke four school records Thursday.

The CMU women’s 200 freestyle relay of Olivia Bobillier, Abi Young, Sam Parker and Hannah Mabile finished fourth in a time of 1:37.40, which is one-hundreth of a second faster than the previous record.

The women’s 400 medley relay team of Mary Saiz, Miranda Reetz, Eryn Leonard and Marissa Bradley finished with a time of 3:51.45, bettering the previous school record by more than four seconds.

Leonard also broke her school record in the 100 butterfly with a time of 57.02.

The men’s 400 medley relay team of Justin Hastings, Josh Bedford, Hirsch and Peter Szekely placed third with a time of 3:18.98, beating the school record by almost three seconds.

Around the pool

CMU’s Amanda Jennings returned to the pool with a hard cast on her left hand the day after the senior diver broke it during a warm-up round. But the cast does not spell the end of Jennings’ career.

Jennings already had qualified for the Division II national meet, which is one month away, and Allen said the hard cast will be removed in three weeks. X-rays will be taken, and her status for the national meet will be re-examined at that time.

“More than likely, with her guts, she’s going to gut it out and compete at nationals,” Allen said.

n Allen said there wasn’t an individual performance to highlight from Day 3 of the meet. Rather, the team must continue building momentum.

“What I just told the team, it’s not about any particular individuals or events,” Allen said. “If we carry the emotional high we’ve had over the last two days, we can continue to gain on those second-place teams.”

n Lindenwood swimmer Serghei Golban set an RMAC record in the 100 butterfly and made the NCAA “A” cut for the national championships. The freshman posted a time of 48.63 after almost missing out on the finals in the morning.

Golban was the last qualifier in Thursday night’s finals, edging out an opponent by eight-hundreths of a second to secure a spot in the final. His performance in the final is one of three “A” cuts for the national championships to take place during the RMAC Championships thus far. An “A” cut qualifier means the person automatically earns a spot in the national meet, while the remaining field is filled out with “B” cut qualifiers.

All three “A” cuts took place Thursday, and all three swimmers are from Lindenwood. Golban and Krzysztof Jankiewicz each qualified in the 100 butterfly, and the Lindenwood 400 freestyle relay team made the cut, eclipsing the RMAC and pool record by more than three seconds with a time of 3:12.20.


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