Of all the athletic abilities I admire—and there are many, believe me—swimming and diving are high up on the list. I swim like I run, with much flailing and gasping. And as for diving, all I have to say is, upside down and twisting…are you kidding me? With the summer Olympics coming up this year, I thought I’d do a little spectator training on Saturday as the Rams swam against University of New Mexico at Moby Pool.
For those of you who are unfamiliar with Moby Pool, it’s located in the boxy, unassuming building tucked in between Moby Arena and the newer athletic complex to the east. The pool opened in 1966, the same year as Moby Arena, and is the training and competition venue for the CSU swimmers and divers.
The on-line schedule listed noon as the start time, but when I arrived, I discovered that the 3-meter diving competition had started forty-five minutes earlier. That was disappointing, because the diving events are always fun. But the first event I watched, the 1000 yard freestyle, was no less impressive. A thousand yards is 40 laps, and Ram Maddie Mastrup won that race with a time of 10:42. I got tired just watching.
The freestyle is fast and graceful, and probably the stroke of choice for any swimmer trying to outdistance an angry sea lion. The backstroke and butterfly are rhythmic and pleasing. But what is up with that breaststroke? With the frog kicks and the bobbing heads, it looks more like punishment than fun. But the women who swim it do it well, and Ram Kellie Mathews took first in that event.
I got to see the divers compete in the 1-meter board event, which I think must be even harder than the 3-meter because the distance between the board and the water is so much shorter. At the start of the sixteenth and final event of the meet, the 200 yard freestyle relay, the Rams were ahead by a slim six point margin. In a very exciting finish, the Rams edged out UNM to win the meet by a score of 156-141. They will swim again at Moby on February 4, but the rest of their meets are away. Good luck to the swimmers and divers, especially when they close out their season at the NCAA Championships in Auburn, Alabama.