Mavericks swamp field in own invite

PHOTO BY GRETEL DAUGHERTY—Despite his position in lane one, Colorado Mesa’s Robert Eisendrath plows through the water to finish first in the men’s 100-yard butterfly during the Colorado Mesa University Invitational swim meet at El Pomar Natatorium.

Entering her sophomore year on the Colorado Mesa University swim team, Katie Thompson knew she’d have to perform better than she did as a freshman.

“I didn’t get the times I wanted last year,” she said. “I came in from high school being a lot faster and I guess the training was harder and my body just wasn’t used to it.”

Keeping a spot on the team meant more work, especially with freshmen Kieran Bender and Ashley Ochsner also vying for the top spot in the 50- and 100-yard breaststroke events.

“I just knew I had to step it up this year in training,” Thompson said. “I just really don’t want to lose my top spot on the team in the 50 and the 100.”

Sunday, in the final day of the Colorado Mesa University Invitational at El Pomar Natatorium, Thompson showed the results of her efforts with a win in the 50 in 32.48 seconds.

The Mavericks won 10 event titles in the 20 events Sunday, five each from the men and women.

The men finished with 1,164 points, well ahead of second-place Colorado School of Mines, which scored 939.5. The women, who scored 1,385 points, had more than double the points of second-place Mines, which had 567.

“I told them this is our home stage to shine on and prove to everyone in our conference that we’re a legit program,” CMU coach Brian Pearson said. “As far as team performance, we had kids that were sleepers that just came out of the woodwork this weekend.”

Among those sleepers was Robert Eisendrath, who helped the Mavericks win the 200 freestyle relay, but also had a surprise win in the 100 butterfly.

Eisendrath was by no means the favorite in the 100 fly, finishing seventh in the preliminaries with a time of 56.46 seconds.

In the finals, he cut nearly three seconds off his time to finish in 53.84, despite being in the outside lane.

“I just kind thought if I could get a good time, I’ll be happy, I’m just racing against myself,” he said.

Being in the far lane, he didn’t realize how close he actually was at the end. He just could hear and see the excitement from his teammates at poolside.

The cheering gave Eisendrath the motivation he needed in the last 25 yards of the race.

“At about the 75 (yard) mark, that last turn, I hit a wall and was like ‘Ah, I’ve got to keep going, everybody’s cheering for me,’ ” he said. “I hit the wall (to finish) and thought I got like third. I looked and I got first.”

He nearly picked up a second individual win in the 100-yard backstroke, but narrowly lost to Andrew Zerwick of Colorado Mines, who finished 13th in the event at last year’s NCAA Division II national meet.

Eisendrath finished in 53.12 and Zerwick finished in 52.31.

Two Mavericks qualified for nationals during the meet.

Alejandro Hernandez won the 400 individual medley in 4:09.95, which, once adjusted for altitude, will put him under the B cut time of 4:09.14.

Women’s diver Brooke Lera, who missed a national score by 19 points Saturday, qualified in a diving time trial event Sunday.

Lera dove from the 1-meter board and finished second in the 11-dive event with 432.85 points, well over the 390 required for a national invitation.

Teammates Savannah Craft and Amanda Jennings came within 20 points of a national berth.

Craft dove from the 1-meter board and finished with 371.65 points. Jennings dove from the 3-meter board and finished with 401.6 points, short of the 420-point requirement.


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