Athletes of the Week: Sampson, Borgenheimer, and CMU Swimming and Diving

Published: Jan. 4, 2023 at 11:58 PM MST
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GRAND JUNCTION, Colo. (KJCT) - The Colorado Mesa University Mavericks Swimming and Diving Teams have been making waves in national polls.

The Mavs Women’s Team has made it to the number one spot in the College Swimming and Diving Coaches Association of America NCAA Division II Top 25 Dual Meet Rankings for the first time in the team’s history. The Men’s Team also climbed up to a team high of third in the rankings.

“We don’t really spend a whole lot of time really looking at those rankings because they don’t mean a whole lot. But it is pretty cool to see our name up there,” Redshirt Sophomore Ben Sampson said.

“That was pretty spectacular,” Redshirt Senior Lily Borgenheimer said.

But according to Head Coach Mickey Wender while the team appreciated the recognition, they remain focused on their larger goals of finishing high at the NCAA Division II Championships in March.

“It’s validation, it feels good, but honestly, it’s meaningless. You know, it only matters what we do on those five days in March. It’s a motivational thing. But like my wife said, when she saw it, now you got a target on your back,” Wender said.

The college swim season can be tricky to navigate at times. Swimmer and divers already are up against tough practices and rigorous schedules. On top of that, there can also be long periods of time in between meets. But the Mavs team says the long waits can be just as helpful as it is challenging.

“I honestly think that’s the beauty of the sport, is that we have all that time to actually practice and kind of tear our body down so that we can get better in the long run,” Sampson said.

“It’s easy when you have motivated ambitious kids, right? They want to be great at the end when it matters the most. They understand that it’s a process and every step along the way, helps in the development so that we can achieve our goals of causing a ruckus at the NCAA championship and in Indianapolis in March,” Wender said.

The Swim and Dive Teams have a meet coming up soon, and it’s a big one. They’re hitting the road to take on Division One Utah this weekend. But the Team said they’re ready for the upcoming challenge.

“They know us, and they know what we’re capable of,” Sampson said.

" We’re just going to lay it all out, we try to race people and chase them down. Even though they’re a D1 school they always get the feeling they’re not invincible and we have so much talent. They’re (Utah) definitely not thinking it’s going to be an easy ride,” Borgenheimer said.

Coach Sampson said he’s been sending a message that the Mavericks need to be ready for their upcoming meet.

“I’ve told them to, because we struggled against them (Utah) last year, don’t get on the bus. Unless you are ready to lay it on the line. You’re not going to be peaked and tapered and shaved and suited and all those fancy things,” Wender said, “We’re just going to go in, and I like to think of our team as scrappy. You know, we’re the Mavericks. We’re a little rough around the edges, but I wouldn’t want to get into a bar fight with these guys.”