SALT LAKE CITY– Utah’s men’s and women’s swim and dive team celebrates its Senior Day on Saturday, January 22, when it takes on both the University of Denver and Colorado Mesa University. The match kicks off at 11:30am MT and fans are encouraged to come early as the Senior Day acknowledgments start at 11:15am MT, at the Ute Natatorium.
“We are excited to be back in competition for the first time in over a month. We’ve clearly had some COVID disruption in our schedule this month, but Saturday gives us a chance to get back into it against two good opponents.” , head coach Joe Dijkstra said. “It will also allow us to honor our seniors with their amazing careers. I couldn’t be more proud of all they’ve accomplished, especially given the difficulty of the past two years.”
The University of Utah has issued an on-campus mask order in accordance with Salt Lake County’s mandatory mask mandate that took effect Jan. 8, requiring all fans present to wear masks at the Ute Natatorium.
Dating back to the 2003-04 season, both the men’s and women’s met Denver a total of 16 times. For the men, they are 7-9 in the series and lost at home (183-79) in their last meeting against the Pioneers in 2020. At the Ute Natatorium, Utah is 4-4 and looks set to break the split on Saturday. .
The women have had their way against Denver in the history of the series, with a 10-6 record. The Utah women were hard to beat at home against the Pioneers in their last two encounters in 2016-17 (158-140) and 2019-20 (160-102). The women have only lost one encounter at home to Denver (2014-15, 156-144).
The Utah men and women were dominant against Colorado Mesa. Since the 2010-11 season, the men have taken home all meet titles against the Mavericks (7-0), including their last match-up in 2020-21 in a home win (191-52). The women have met Colorado Mesa just four times and have taken the wins in every matchup. The women’s last win over the Mavericks came in 2020-21 (176-67), during their first meeting with CMU at home.
“We are looking forward to getting back into competition after a long hiatus,” Head Dive Coach Richard Marschner said. “We’ve had a lot of high quality training and it will be nice to be able to dive back home in a familiar environment. I expect to get out there and have some great performances and hopefully some personal bests.”
On Saturday, a total of 13 seniors will be recognized. The men’s team will honor seniors Santiago Contreras, Andrew Britton, Tony Chen, Cooper de Ryko, Ben Waterman and Jackson Cunningham. The women’s team will pay tribute Mandy Gebhart, Leyre Casarin, McKenna Gassaway, Emma Lawless, Sophia Moricic, Angry Smith, and Zofia Niemczak.
How to follow
Ute fans can follow the action during both encounters by following the Utah Twitter page. Updates during the meet will be provided along with photos of the action.
The Utes are eager to get back into the pool after taking their first win of the 2021-2022 season at the Big Al Invitational hosted by Princeton. It was an impressive feat as the men scored 1075.5 points to secure the win over host Princeton (1015.5) and the women scored 1005 points to also beat Princeton (849) en route to the first win of the season. team. Both the swim team and the dive team performed well, which was a strong end to the first half of the season.
“We had a great overall meeting with 10 personal bests and a pool record of Ben on the platform,” said coach Marschner. “It was another very solid invite for us and we are looking very good going into the second half of the season. I am excited to get some training and continue our excellence after the break.”
The Utes started strong after the first day of the Big Al Invite, taking four outright event wins. The ladies 200 free relay team of Leyre Casarin, Maddie Woznick, Kayla Miller and Emma Lawless took home the first win with a time of 1:31.33. The men’s 200 free team of Cooper de Ryko, Finn O’Haimhirgin, Santiago Contreras and Lucas Calderon followed by a win of their own touching first in 1:18.66, securing the Utes’ second win of the afternoon.
It was a dominant display for both the men and women in the 50s. Once again, it was Casarin for the women who won the 50 free in 22.72 and deRyk on the men’s side who shared the title of the event with Jonas Kistorp of Columbia University in 19.76.
on the shelves, Tony Chen won the 1M dive with a score of 340.05 while McDivitt finished second with a personal best of 337.40. This score moved McDivitt to the eighth place all-time in Utah. For the women, Lexi Mills (303.25) and Holly Waxman (284.10) finished second and third respectively in the 3m dive.
On day two, the men’s 200 medley team of Andrei Ungur, Andrew Britton, Cooper de Ryko and Finn O’Haimhirgin swam hard to round out the win in 1:24.47. freshman Marko Kovacic won the 200 free in 1:35.61 and for the men it was their third win of the day Andrei Ungur with the 100 back in 46.06.
The women of Utah started the final day of competition with a bang like Marlene Sandberg (16:36.45) and Taylor Kabacy (16:37.52) finished one-two in the 1650 free. Casarin captured the second win of the day in the 100 free with a time of 49.30 and Charity Pittard kept the fun going by winning the 200 chest (2:12.53).
The men showed their dominance in the 100 free with five swimmers finishing in the top 10. Finn O’Haimhirgin and JP Hynes went blow for blow with Princeton’s Max Walther, both defeated him just as O’Haimhirgin touched first (43.66) and Hynes immediately after second (43.93). Utah secured the tournament win with the A and B 400 free relay teams finishing first and second in an intense finish. Cooper Deryk’s B-squad, Andrei Ungur, Contreras and Calderon took the event title in 2:55.42 while the A-team of Horner, Hynes, Kovacic and O’Haimhirgin finished second in 2:55.51.
In the diving pit, freshman Ben Smyth set a DeNunzio pool record on the platform with a score of 398.95, moving itself into second place all-time.
Pac-12 Women’s Diver of the Month
Junior diver Lexi Mills was named Pac-12 Diver of the Month after a stellar performance at the Big Al Invitational December 3-5. Mills, hosted by Princeton, never finished outside the top seven in the events she participated in. From the 3M dive on the opening day, Mills took a score of 293.20 in the preliminary round to advance to the finals and followed that with a 303.25 (NCAA Zones qualifying score) to place the Utes second.
On day two, Mills scored 271.50 in the 1M dive preliminaries and scored a 250.85 in the final to finish seventh. The 271.50 she showed in the preliminaries was also a qualifying mark for the NCAA Zones. The platform was the final event on the third day of the invitation, and Mills set a personal best of 216.30, which was good for seventh.
NCAA B Times
Utah has a total of 12 swimmers who have recorded NCAA B times.
50 free: Leyre Casarin (22.72), Cooper de Ryko (19.51)
100 free: Leyre Casarin (49.30), Finn O’Haimhirgin (43.48)
200 free: Marko Kovacic (1:35.61)
1650 free: Jackson Cunningham (15:24.62)
100 Back: Emma Lawless (53.88) Andrei Ungur (46.06), JP Hynes (47.17)
200 Back: Emma Lawless (1:56.25)
100 Chest: Jaek Horner (53.04)
200 Chest: Charity Pittard (2:12.53), Jaek Horner (1:57.02)
100 flies: Emma Lawless (53.74), Ben Waterman (46.48) Cooper de Ryko (47.43)
200 flies: Ben Waterman (1:44.44)
200 IM: Ben Waterman (1:46.60)
Men’s 200 medley relay: A team: Andrei Ungur, Andrew Britton, Cooper de Ryko, and Finn O’Haimhirgin (1:24.47)
The Utes will travel south on I-15 next weekend, January 28-29, to battle local rival BYU in a dual match at the BYU Richards Building Pool. The two-day meet will begin on Friday at 5:00 PM MT with the diving events. On Saturday, the meet will begin at 11:00 AM MT with the swimming events.
Follow the Utes!
For fans of the Utah men’s/women’s swim and dive programs, follow the Utes on Twitter (@UTAHswimdive), Instagram (@utahswimdive) and Facebook (@UtahUtesSwimdive).