Intrasquad Meets Blends Past With Present – Colorado State University Athletics

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FORT COLLINS, Colo. – The present met the past Saturday. Competed with them at times, bonded with them a bit, which is what Christopher Woodard hoped for most of all as his team prepped for the upcoming season.
“I wanted to see tradition. It means a lot to me to see the history of the program,” the Rams’ head coach said. “It means so much to me, and I hope it impresses upon the current athletes in whatever avenue that they just don’t stop competing in their lives. In their personal life, their professional life or even their sports career.”
The intrasquad scrimmage meant something different for all of them. For the freshman, it was really cementing their feeling of being part of the team. For the most active members of the roster, the last time they competed was in July if they took part in a club meet back home. For the others, it was a chance to get the juices flowing again.
Times didn’t matter, especially since only four of the events were true, throwing in a mix of 75s and 150s for the strokes, a way of easing into the Chick-fil-A Invitational in Fresno, Calif., in a few weeks. Feel was more of a concern, and for freshman Alexis Trietley, the day felt great.
“It gets us focused, it gets our bodies ready and it gets us closer as a team,” she said. “The support on the team is just amazing. The other girls always congratulate us, say good job, get us going, get us hyped up and it’s nice we had this opportunity to get the freshmen warmed up.
“I’m training a lot more than I did at home, so it’s definitely good to feel my body after training so much and being able to race hard again.”
Sophomore Erin Dawson was looking for an added layer to the day after coming off a frustrating first campaign. She spent most of the year either sick or injured, and even when she was busting out great workouts, she wasn’t seeing them transition into race results in meets.
Finally cleared for a full workout at the end of May, she went back home to Nevada and made the decision to train hard and compete, and the results of her work paid off as she won both events she swam, the 400-yard freestyle and the 300 individual medley.
What she gained from the day was more mental than anything.
“Last year was a very hard year for me, so I feel coming back today was a big confidence boost,” Dawson said. “I felt really good, I was confident in myself for once and I just had a lot of fun. For me, it was having fun racing and getting in that groove for the season and having fun with my teammates and competing with them was a lot of fun.
“I feel like it added on to my confidence. I swam in a lot of meets this summer and the practices have been a real confidence boost, but today I was able to put it in that competition mindset, so I felt it added on to that confidence. The summer helped me a lot.”
The gold team won the overall battle 131-118, yielding them bragging rights. It was the first step toward being ready when the scores really start to count for a team coming off an undefeated dual season in 2021-22. While they are teammates, he hoped to see battles to the wall and a definite want to, and he did. Beating a teammate should mean something, and in more than a handful of races, he could tell it did.
Around 15 alumni took part in the event and raised the atmosphere. Some of them haven’t donned a CSU swim cap for nearly two decades, some as recently as two years ago. At times, they jumped in the same heat as the current swimmers, but mostly they had a blast competing against each other in heats all to themselves.
They had a blast and the familiar team vibes came back naturally, some of them combining to turn an individual event into a relay. They joined in on the team cheer at the start, and Julia Box led the final cheer at the end.
Once a Ram, always a Ram and the alumni had their own cheering section, with their family coming to watch. It’s what Woodard wanted to come across most – the team is a family forever — and it worked. Trietley walked away feeling part of something bigger than she first thought.
“It was great seeing all the alumni here, and it kind of brought the team together, and it got us in racing mode before California,” she said. “I’ve never really had a connection with my high school like that. This was nice seeing everyone here today and seeing how much fun they had and still how close they were as a team whether they graduated in 2003 or 2015.”

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