The Trailblazers came off the blocks aggressively Saturday against Colorado Mesa University but fell short in the end.
The Dixie State University women’s swim team hosted the CMU Mavericks in a pre-conference dual meet, the only home meet of the season, at the Washington City Community Center. After 28 events and hundreds of laps in the pool, the Trailblazers suffered a loss of 175-69 but kept their heads held high through the meet.
“Really our biggest goal was just to compete,” head coach Benjamin Rae said. “Colorado Mesa is a highly rated team. We knew that it was going to be really challenging.”
CMU is nationally ranked at No. 14 among Division II college swim teams. Rae said the hardest part of training for the season comes right after winter break and it would be hard to expect the top performance from each swimmer. Rae’s goal in competing Saturday was to put in some “tired but aggressive” work.
At the start of each event, the swimmers started strong into the water. In the 1,000-yard freestyle freshman Katie Pack, a biology major from Spanish Fork, swam neck and neck with Kat Gerstmar of CMU for the first 30 laps. Pack began to lose some speed around lap 32 but kept a solid pace allowing her to come in second and finish only four seconds behind Gerstmar.
Freshman Millie Snelders, an exercise science major from Palmer, Alaska, and sophomore McKenzie Fitzgerald, a general studies major from St. George, finished third and fourth in the 100-yard breaststroke, three seconds behind the second-place CMU swimmer. In most of the events, DSU was able to hold its own and keep a steady pace alongside CMU for the first lap or two but would slowly fall behind the top swimmers in the last few laps.
“I wanted to just hold my ground and feel good about my races, not necessarily swim the best,” Snelders said. “This was more of a practice race for us.”
CMU is in the Rocky Mountain Athletic Conference, which all of DSU sports will be moving to in 2018, so this race does not count toward the team’s conference standing since DSU is still in the PacWest Conference. Rae said CMU was close enough and willing to give the Trailblazers a little competition and as a first year program the team is inclined to take any competition it can get. Both coaches and team members said this meet was an eye opener and a learning experience.
“It’s going to help us push ourselves and show what we can do at other meets in the future,” said freshman Sydney Anderson, a general studies major from Layton.
Rae said the team did better on its 200-yard events more so than the 100-yard events and he plans to apply speed workouts into the next several practices preparing for its first conference meet.
The women’s swim team will travel to Los Angeles Friday and compete in its first conference meet at the Loyola Marymount Lion Invitational.