Ready for the grind

Early success nice, but CMU swim team focused on peaking in February

Colorado Mesa’s Justin Hastings owns school records in the 200 butterfly and 100 and 200 backstroke and the senior understands times during this part of the season mean nothing.

Colorado Mesa diver Sage D’Ambrosia has tasted early season success, winning the RMAC diver of the week award after his performance in Clarion, Pennsylvania, last weekend.


Colorado Mesa Swimming and Diving

Coaching Staff

Head coach — Ron Allen, fourth season. Assistant coaches — Logan Pearsall, Susie Christianson, Harrison Hapgood.

Last season

Men finished third in Rocky Mountain Athletic Conference Championships; women finished second in RMAC meet.

Key Men’s Returners

■ Ryan Popp, sr., diving, defending RMAC Diver of the Year and a returning national qualifier.

■ Justin Hastings, sr., backstroke/butterfly, owns individual school records in 200 butterfly, 100 backstroke, 200 backstroke. Qualified for the national meet in multiple events.

■ Sage D’Ambrosia, soph., diving, was RMAC Diver of the Week last week, national qualifier last year.

■ Ryan Gifford, jr., distance, owns school record in 400 individual medley.

■ Kyle Johnston, jr., butterfly/freestyle, helped set school record in 800 freestyle relay.

Key Women’s Returners

■ Miranda Reetz, jr., breaststroke/individual medley, national qualifier last year and set school record in 200 breaststroke.

■ Mary Saiz, jr., freestyle/backstroke, national qualifier last year and school-record holder in 200 backstroke.

■ Marissa Bradley, jr., freestyle, helped set school record in 400 freestyle relay.

Division I transfers

Mesa has three swimmers who have transferred into the program, with two coming from Division I schools.

Sophomore Chris Radomski (Division II Drury University, Missouri), will compete in the butterfly and freestyle events; junior Ethan McNally (Division I Eastern Michigan) will swim the individual medley and breaststroke events; and junior Sam Bryant (Division I Hawaii) will compete in individual medley and freestyle.

Allen expects big things from each, saying, “All of them are going to be high-impact kids. We got real lucky with getting them.”

Diving right in

Mesa’s divers have high expectations and have shown why during the early part of the season. D’Ambrosia and freshman Abby Smith each turned in stellar performances at the Clarion Diving Invitational in Clarion, Pennsylvania, this past weekend and earned RMAC diver the of the week honors.

What’s more, Popp defeated defending 1-meter springboard national champion Collin Vest in the event Sunday.

“They should offer us the most consistency out of everyone this year,” Allen said of the divers.

Preseason poll

The Mesa men and women were picked to finish third in the RMAC this year. Defending men’s champion Lindenwood was picked to repeat, and last season’s women’s champ, California Baptist, also was picked to win it again.

Up next

CMU’s men’s team heads to Alamosa to compete in a three-way meet at Adams State University today, and the women’s team will go to a meet at Western State.

Ron Allen has plenty of things to be happy about when it comes to Colorado Mesa’s swimming and diving season so far. He’s not, though.

“I only say that now because we are ridden with illness and injuries,” the fourth-year coach of the Mavericks said. “Other than that, we look really good.”

Sickness and injuries notwithstanding, the Mavs have high expectations all the way around for the 2015-16 season. And there’s been plenty of good things that have happened so far, including a stellar performance from Mesa’s divers in Clarion, Pennsylvania, this past weekend.

Those good showings have come even though the Mavs, understandably so, aren’t putting a huge priority on the quality of their performances from now until the stretch run of the season. That’s because Allen this week is starting the team’s rigorous three-month conditioning period that has traditionally helped them excel in February.

And once the newer team members catch up, he feels Mesa will be in prime position to compete for the Rocky Mountain Athletic Conference title.

“We have lots of kids who, in my opinion, are kind of whiney about being sore,” said senior Justin Hastings, who qualified for four events in last year’s NCAA Division II Championships. “They’re getting there.

“We don’t really care about midseason times, because we know it’s conference that really matters,” Hasting continued. “We’ve had several kids who have broken down about not swimming as fast as they’d like to at this point in the season, and we have to reaffirm to them that this part of the season doesn’t really matter as much.”


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