Training trip pays off for Mavs

Scott Strehlow of Colorado Mesa University swims in the men’s 1,000-yard freestyle during the Bill and Peggy Foster Duals in the El Pomar Natatorium on the CMU campus Saturday afternoon.Strehlow finished second with a time of 10:49.9.




MEN: CMU def. Adams State 200-50, CU-Boulder 176-74, Northern Colorado 219-0 WOMEN: CMU def. CU-Boulder 195-54, Adams State 188-82; lost to Northern Colorado 203-76, New Mexico 212-65, Air Force 248-49

Every winter, major swimming programs in cold weather states spend part of holiday break training in a warmer climate.

The Colorado Mesa University swim team hopes its training trip to La Jolla, Calif., will pay off during the RMAC Championships in February.

“We feel like during the training trip we definitely became closer as a team,” junior swimmer Cody Spencer said. “Between getting the freshmen involved with all the team activities and just getting to know everyone, it was a good bonding experience.”

While there, the Mavericks trained and enjoyed an environment free of distractions.

“It gets the kids out of the cold and into the sun,” coach Brian Pearson said. “It’s a different venue free of distractions they’d have at home. It’s a common thing for any team north of the Mason-Dixie Line to go Fort Lauderdale (Fla.), California, Texas, Puerto Rico or Hawaii for a trip like this. It’s a quality experience.”

The trip paid off Saturday in the Bill and Peggy Foster Duals at El Pomar Natatorium.

The Mavericks’ men’s team won seven events and beat conference foe Adams State by 150 points and beat CU-Boulder by 102.

Eric Black won the 100 backstroke with a time of 56.70 and finished second in the 200 backstroke behind teammate Ryan Dake, who won with a time of 1:56.85. Drew Vandermeer won the 50 free at 22.58, and was the first leg of the winning 400 free relay team.

“We’re hoping for another top-three finish (at the RMAC Championships),” Spencer said. “We have the talent and everything in place. There are two powerhouses right above us, but we’re one of the fastest conferences in Division II right now. It’s nice to be competitive.”

The men’s team is ranked No. 22 nationally in the latest College Swimming Coaches Association of America poll.

The women’s team is also in the top tier in the RMAC.

“We have two teams looking to switch to Division I in swimming, and we’re right underneath them,” senior Jordan McMillen said.

“This is the first year we’ve had all four classes in a long time. So to be able to have that senior leadership is great. It helps the underclassmen a lot, and it has helped us get really close.”

Although the CMU women didn’t win any events Saturday, they got top-10 finishes from Briana Purkapile, Gina Panacci, Robyn Meeks and Amanda Jennings, and won duals against CU-Boulder and Adams State.

Jennings finished third in the 3-meter dive and fourth in the 1-meter dive. Meeks’ time of 11:37.16 was good enough for 10th in the 1,000 freestyle and Purkapile and Panacci finished fifth and ninth, respectively, in the 200 butterfly.

Both teams travel to Colorado Springs this weekend to compete in the Colorado College Classic.


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