Annapolis, Md.----- A well-known, longtime ESPN broadcast personality's catch phrase, "Back, Back, Back, Back, Back" would fit San Jose State University's Colleen Humel perfectly after the 2018 CSCAA (College Swimming and Diving Coaches Association of America) National Invitational swimming meet.
The Spartans' backstroke specialist was named the "Swimmer of the Meet" after a multi-record-breaking 200 backstroke victory on the meet's final night to go along with her first-place finish in the 100 back 24 hours earlier and swimming the backstroke in the team's 200 medley relay win. Over three days, Humel set one school, one Mountain West, and one meet relay and three individual meet records in the process. She now owns all the San Jose State backstroke records from 50 to 200 yards.
Humel started the final day as the #1-qualifier in the 200 backstroke with a meet record time of 1:55.28, almost 1.5-seconds faster than Jamie Miller of Navy at 1:56.71. Amazingly, Humel exploded in the championship final breaking a three-year old school record and the Mountain West mark in the 200 back of 1:54.13 set by one-time San Jose State freshman Morgan McCormick and her own seven hour-old meet record from the qaulifying round with a 1:53.60 clocking nearly two full seconds ahead of runner-up Richmond's Hannah Gouger.
"Before the 200 backstroke final this evening I felt that Colleen had a solid chance at being awarded `Swimmer of the Meet.' At the 125-yard mark of her race, I knew this was going to be a special swim. And when I saw the 1:53 on the scoreboard, I knew she would be named `Swimmer of the Meet.' To break the Mountain West all-time record in the process was the cherry on top," explained San Jose State head coach Sage Hopkins.
Humel's win assured the Spartans of a fifth-place finish in the team standings, a spot San Jose State shared with South Carolina the first day and held on its own going into the meet's final day. Florida International was the women's team champion with 598.5 points. The Spartans' 325 points were the best among three Mountain West schools that scored points in the meet.
"I never could have imagined finishing the way I did and many happy tears were shed this week," said Humel who also scored points for the Spartans in the 200 and 400 freestyle and 400 medley relays.
"This was a tremendous meet for us. Qualifying for post season is a great milestone for any student-athlete," Hopkins said. "To perform the way we did puts a big exclamation mark on that milestone."
Senior Brittany Heng closed her San Jose State career with a fourth place finish in the 100 free to go along with her third place in the 50 free on opening night. Heng closed out the Spartans' successful meet anchoring the team's fourth-place 400 freestyle relay team. Gabby Heng, Brenna Bushey and Humel preceded Brittany Heng in the relay.
"Britt Heng's performance over the last 6 months, along with her commitment to her team will go down as one of the more memorable parts of my career," said the Spartans' head coach.
"For her to work from being a walk-on that didn't make our traveling team to becoming one of the premier sprinters in our conference and on the West Coast is a testament to her work ethic, focus, and tenacity."
"I'm so proud of what we accomplished as a team and we certainly showed everyone who San Jose State is and what we are all about," concluded Humel.
CSCAA National Invitational swimming meet
LeJeune Hall, U.S. Naval Academy, Annapolis, Md.
March 10, 2018
Final team scores (31 teams scoring) -- 1, Florida International, 598.5. 2, Rice, 483. 3, Denver, 428. 4, South Carolina, 394. 5, San Jose State, 325. 6, Boise State, 267. 7, Navy, 213.5. 8, George Washington, 145.5. 9, Richmond, 142. 10, Grand Canyon, 141.5.
San Jose State finishes only
100 freestyle -- 1, Letizia Bertelli, Florida International, 49.14. 2, Elizav Baykova, New Hampshire, 49.31. 3, Christine Lappin, South Carolina, 49.37. 4, Brittany Heng, San Jose State, 49.85.
400 freestyle relay -- 1, Florida International, 3:18.56. 2, Rice, 3:20.05. 3, Denver, 3:20.08. 4, San Jose State (Gabby Heng, Brenna Bushey, Colleen Humel, Brittany Heng), 3:20.98. 5, Boise State, 3:21.40.