SALT LAKE CITY – The Utah swim and dive team celebrated its Seniors Day on Saturday at the Ute Natatorium and was completely dominant in the meet, taking victories in 26 of a total of 32 events. In their first action of 2022, the Utes beat two opponents at Colorado Mesa University in fourth place (489.00-110.00), according to the latest CSCAA DII rankings and the University of Denver (437.00-163.00).
In the swimming pool
The Utah swim team wasted no time in confirming their dominance today, taking the win in the first nine events of the meet. To start it all, the team of Emma Lawless, Katie Hale, Leyre Casarin, and Madison Story who together won the 200 meter medley relay in 1:42.18. The men followed, as Matt Wilcox, Andrei Ungur, Cooper de Ryko, and Finn O’Haimhirgin combined to win in 1:30.01.
freshman Marlene Sandberg ran the women’s pace in the 1,000 free placement first in 10:31.05, followed by sophomores Taylor Kabacy which ended at 10:35.77. It was sophomore Dylan Becker who led the charge for the men in the 1,000 free when he captured the event in 9:38.22 with junior Nathan Ramey hit second at 9:43.25. Becker would take his second win of the day in the 500 free finish in 4:38.99.
Junior transfer Summer Stanfield first competed as Ute after joining the team in January and immediately showed her value by taking home the win in the 200 free (1:52.83) and 200 back (2:03.22) .
Senior Ben Waterman took his first win of Senior Day in the 200 free finish in 1:40.84. Waterman added to his senior day with a win in the 100 flies (48.63).
The women announced their presence in the 100 back, finishing 1-4. Lawless led the way in 55.26 as a sophomore Kate Leary (56.92), freshman Norah Hay (57.88) and fifth year Mandy Gebhart (57.94) finished second, third and fourth respectively. The men competed, as the top five finishers in the 100 back were all Utes. Ungur took the win (48.85), red shirt sophomore Parker McOmber finished second (50.02) and junior JP Hynes placed third (50.55).
Junior Charity Pittard won the 100 breast in 1:04.48, but the streak of nine wins in a row came to an end in the following race.
The Utes came back in the victory column as a sophomore Marko Kovacic drove to a win in the 200 races, finishing in 1:52.13.
Just before the first break of the meet, both the men and women cleared the 50. Junior Finn O’Haimhirgin (20.74) and Casarin (23.43) took the wins. O’Haimhirgin and Casarin continued their strong performances as both won the 100 free.
It was the duo of Sandberg (5:07.77) and Kabacy (5:09.22) who again took first and second respectively in the 500 free.
freshman Sydney Rogness first in the 400 IM (4:26.60) while Pittard followed in second (4:31.58).
For the 200 free relay, Casarin started in first place (1:33.40), accompanied by Maddie Woznick, Emma Lawless, and Katie Hale.
Senior Cooper de Ryko started for the men in the 200 free relay, joined by O’Haimhirgin, Hynes and anchored by Ungur for the win (1:21.88).
All in all, it was a great day for the Utah program, closing the careers of some of the best swimmers. Despite the wide gap in competitive action, Utah faced two different opponents and showed great performances.
“We are so happy to finally have a meeting”, head coach Joe Dijkstra said. “We definitely had some rust to start with, but the effort was solid. We will try to build some momentum towards the end of the season.”
on the shelves
freshman Holly Waxman set an all-time top ten performance in Utah, finishing first in the 1m dive with a score of 298.85. Lizzy DeCecco (286.45) and Lexi Mills (271.40) followed Waxman who finished second and third respectively in the 1m. Waxman would later finish second in the 3m (276.70), behind teammate Mills (311.85) in first place.
The senior duo of Luke McDivitt and Tony Chen recombined for excellence with McDivitt finishing first in the 3m (358.65) and Chen second (343.50). Utah blocked the 3m, as a freshman Ben Smyth took third place (266.25). Chen and McDivitt switched places in the 1m, with Chen scoring 321.15 and McDivitt finishing with a score of 319.95. Colleague Utea Jenner Pennock was third with 317.60, a personal best.
“I’m very happy with how we competed today after such a long hiatus”, Head Dive Coach Richard Marschner said. “We had two personal best performances and some near misses at PBs so it was really encouraging to see our training paying off and we continue to be on an upward trajectory towards the final month of the season.”
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.
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