Swimming and diving shows on Seniors Day

SALT LAKE CITY – Utah’s swimming and diving team celebrated their senior day Saturday at the Ute Natatorium and were completely dominant in the competition earning home wins in 26 of 32 total events. In their first action of 2022, the Utes emerged victorious against two opponents in fourth-ranked University Colorado Mesa (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 asserting their dominance today by claiming victory in the first nine events of the competition. This is the team Emma Lawless, Katie Hale, Leyre Casarin, and Madison’s story who combined to win the 200-yard medley relay in 1:42.18. The men followed suit, as Matt Wilcox, Andrei Ungur, Ryk’s Cooper, and Finn O’Haimhirgin combined to win in 1:30.01.

First-year student Marlene Sandberg paced the women’s 1,000 freestyle placing first in 10:31.05, followed by second Taylor Kabacy who finished in 10:35.77. It was the second Dylan Becker who led the charge for the men in the 1000m freestyle winning the event in 9:38.22 with junior Nathan Ramey touch second in 9:43.25. Becker would earn his second victory of the day in the 500 freestyle finishing in 4:38.99.

junior transfer summer stanfield competed as a Ute for the first time after joining the team in January and immediately showed his worth by taking the event victory in the 200m freestyle (1:52.83) and 200m backstroke (2 : 03.22).

Senior Ben Waterman earned his first win of the senior day in the 200 freestyle finishing in 1:40.84. Waterman added to his senior day with a victory in the 100 butterfly (48.63).

The women made their presence known in the 100 backstroke finishing 1-4. Lawless leads the way hitting first in 55.26 in 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 joined in the fun as the top five in the 100 backstroke were all Utes. Ungur took the win (48.85), sophomore in red shirt Parker McOmber finished second (50.02) and junior JP Hynes third (50.55).

Junior Pittard Charity won the 100 breaststroke in 1:04.48, but the nine-game winning streak came to an end in the ensuing race.

The Utes returned to the win column as a sophomore Marko Kovacic picked up a victory in the 200 butterfly finishing in 1:52.13.

Just before the first break of competition, both men and women swept the 50 freestyle. Junior Finn O’Haimhirgin (20.74) and Casarin (23.43) took the wins. O’Haimhirgin and Casarin continued their strong performances by both winning the 100 freestyle.

It was the duo of Sandberg (5:07.77) and Kabacy (5:09.22) who once again finished first and second in the 500 freestyle, respectively.

First-year student Sydney Rogness touched first in the 400 IM (4:26.60) while Pittard followed by finishing second (4:31.58).

Casarin started for first place in the 200 freestyle relay (1:33.40), joined by Maddie Woznick, Emma Lawless, and Katie Hale.

Senior Ryk’s Cooper led the men in the 200 freestyle relay, joined by O’Haimhirgin, Hynes and anchored by Ungur for the win (1:21.88).

Overall, it was a banner day for the Utah program, capping the careers of many of its best swimmers. Despite the big gap in competitive action, Utah went up against two different opponents and put up some great performances.

“We are so happy to finally have a meeting”, the head coach Joe Dykstra noted. “We certainly had some rust to start, but the effort was solid. We’ll be looking to build momentum towards the end of the season.”

On the planks

First-year student Holly Waxman had an all-time top ten performance at Utah, finishing first in the 1m dive with a score of 298.85. Lizzy DeCecco (286.45) and Lexi Mills (271.40) followed Waxman finishing second and third respectively, at 1m. Waxman would later finish second in the 3m (276.70), trailing first-place teammate Mills (311.85).

The senior duo of Luc McDivitt and Tony Chen combined for excellence again, with McDivitt finishing first in the 3m (358.65) and Chen placing second (343.50). Utah blocked the 3m, in first year Ben Smith captured third (266.25). Chen and McDivitt swapped places on the 1m, with Chen scoring 321.15 and McDivitt finishing with a score of 319.95. Comrade Ute Jenner Pennock finished third at 317.60, a personal best.

“I’m really happy with how we competed today after such a long layoff,” said the head diving coach. Richard Marschner noted. “We had two personal bests and a few near misses at PB so it was really encouraging to see that our training is paying off and we continue to be on an upward trajectory heading into the final month of the season.

Look forward

The Utes will travel south on I-15 next weekend, Jan. 28-29, to take on state rival BYU for a doubleheader inside the BYU Richards Building Pool. The two-day meet kicks off Friday at 5:00 p.m. MT with the diving events. On Saturday, the competition will start at 11:00 MT with the swimming events.

Follow the Utes!

For fans of Utah’s men’s/women’s swimming and diving programs, follow the Utes on Twitter (@UTAH swimdive), Instagram (@utahswimdive) and Facebook (@UtahUtesSwimDive).

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