Good first impression

Mavs' Kaslik starts strong in first meet

Colorado Mesa’s Tyler Kaslik takes a breath during the 500-yard freestyle Saturday at El Pomar Natatorium. Kaslik finished second in the race.

Several new Colorado Mesa University faces hopped in the pool and showed a little bit of what they can do Saturday.

Tyler Kaslik, in particular, gave Mavericks’ swimming fans a glimpse of what’s to come from the junior transfer from Ventura (Calif.) College. He placed second in three events to lead the Colorado Mesa University men’s swimming team against the Air Force Academy in the season-opening Intermountain Shootout at El Pomar Natatorium. Team scores weren’t officially released, but Air Force outscored the Mavericks 229-115.

Kaslik is one of 17 new swimmers and divers on the men’s team. There are seven new swimmers on the women’s team.

A two-time 200-yard butterfly All-American and Academic All-American from Gig Harbor, Wash., Kaslik hoped to stay in California, but he decided to look out of state and came to Colorado Mesa without a campus visit.

“The new coach (Ron Allen) came in tough and demanding, but with his attitude and what he wants to do with us, in the couple weeks I’ve been training with him, I’ve improved my strength, and my endurance is coming back,” Kaslik said. “I feel pretty good in the water.”

Kaslik finished second in the 1,650-yard freestyle (17 minutes, 51.64 seconds), the 200 butterfly (2:01.08) and the 500 freestyle (5:01.14) to lead the Colorado Mesa men. He was fourth in the 100 butterfly (53.40).

“Yesterday, I swam the mile for the first time in nine years,” Kaslik said. “I was a little frustrated after that one. I talked to coach about it and got over it. (Saturday) was a new day. (The 500) felt good. ... I’m happy with the time; it’s right around five minutes.

“I’m still adjusting to the altitude. I’ve been swimming at sea level my whole life. It doesn’t affect me too much, but I can tell my breaths are a little shallower.”

Colorado Mesa junior Briana Purkapile led the women’s team with second-place finishes in the 50 butterfly (29.09), the 200 individual medley (2:17.98) and the 100 butterfly (1:03.64). The Northern Colorado women defeated Colorado Mesa 261-105.

“I’m not worried about times now,” Allen said. “I’m worried about putting together the pieces of the jigsaw puzzle. I want the swimmers to think about one or two key things and what they need to improve on.

“Tyler is a good example. He was not pleased with his mile on Friday, but he still performed well (Saturday). He had a couple good swims.”

The meet was the first for Allen as Colorado Mesa’s head coach.

Allen added, “Stefanie Mraule impressed me,” Allen said. “She had a decent sprint in the 50 free. It was good for where she is. Brett Lowe had a gutsy performance. I’m pleased with his ability.”

CMU diving coach Chuck Edgar was pleased with Brock Martin’s first competition.

The junior All-American won the men’s 1-and 3-meter diving competitions, narrowly missing qualifying for the NCAA Division II national championships.

Redshirt freshman Ryan Popp was sixth in 1-meter and seventh in 3-meter. Freshman Austin Fahrenholtz placed sixth in 3-meter and seventh in 1-meter.

“I’m not worried about qualifying the first meet of the year,” Edgar said. “We have a lot of work to do. We’re getting the cobwebs out. The freshmen and sophomores are learning several dives. We’re throwing lesser dives than we will later in the season.”

Amanda Jennings took third in the women’s 3-meter and fourth in the 1-meter. Savannah Craft was fifth in 3-meter and fifth in 1-meter.


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