Salt Lake City, Utah – The University of Utah swim and dive team, led by head coach Joe Dykstra, had their first meet of the season against their rival school, Brigham Young University. This meet had a lot of exciting and fun moments, from the showdown between BYU and Utah in several events to the 200 free divers relay. Though this meet wasn’t scored and won’t count towards the annual Deseret Dual meet (Jan. 23), 3 events counted towards the NCAA standards: the lead offs in the 400 free relay, the mixed 200 free relay, and the 500 free ladder relay.
Dykstra’s thoughts on the season opener:
- “I was expecting us to just go out and race and compete with enthusiasm, and obviously it was a non-scored meet, with very nontraditional events for a college meet. It was a very fun and light atmosphere and I just wanted to see great team bonding and enthusiasm and use this energy as a kind of spring-board into competitions that count,” said Utah head coach Joe Dykstra. “I was most encouraged by the doubling in the size of our diving squad and how many points we are going to get out of that.”
2. Has anyone surprised you so far through the first few weeks of practice and the first meet?
- “I think the secret might be out on Paul Ungur, where we signed him very quietly as a transfer from a Division 2 school in the spring and on one took notice of the fact that he’s a guy that’s been 21.4 in the 50 back, which would have been the 4th or 5th fastest in Division 1 last year and I think that his underwater were on display today. I think people know that sprint backstroke was a struggle for the mens team last year and now we have Daniel McArthur coming in as one of our biggest strengths. On the women’s side, I think our freshman are incredible. The four freshmen divers on the women’s team and the six freshmen swimmers all put in splits today and i think we have potentially three or four NCAA competitor’s the freshmen women’s class.”
3. Who needs to step up this year after the graduation of Nick Soedel?
- “Unfortunately, a couple of guys were out injured today. We are a little thin in sprinting after Nick and Alex Fernandes, who also graduates last year. We have both Paul Ungur and Daniel McArthur who can both sprint freestyle, but for these first few swim meets of mens sprinting, it’s going to be a little makeshift.”
4. How has the transition gone for Rhi Williams back into the pool after a year of running track?
- “She is just such an incredible athlete. Last year, she competed at the MPSF Indoor Track Championships on the same day she raced at the Pac-12 swimming championships. She ran track in the morning and was traveling back and forth between the championships and she competed in the 400 free relay. She works her tail off every day, on the track and in the water and very few people can do what she does.”
In the 150 yard butterfly relay, for the women, Jenna Marsh, Maddie Meisel, and Jordan Anderson from Utah took first (1:18.59), followed closely by their team mates Sydney Bull, Petra Soininen, and Alex Stein (1:18.81). For the men’s relay, Ben Scott, Dave Fraser, and Kristian Kron from Utah took first (1:08.26), with BYU coming in 4th (1:11.76).
Shayla Archer, Megan Kawaguchi, and Hailey Pabst take first in the 150 backstroke (1:18.49) for the Utes, followed by Lauren Taylor, Ashlee Spindler, and Sam Lingenbrink from BYU (1:20.90). Paul Ungur, Brandon Deckard, and Daniel McArthur from Utah took second (1:08.24), just being out touched by Payton Sorenson, Preston Jenkins, and Jake Taylor from BYU (1:08.12).
Claiming the top two spots for the women’s Utah team in the 150 breast relay was the team of Genevieve Robertson, Julienne Tadera and Stina Colleou in first, (1:31.41), followed by the trio of Darby Wayner, Bull and Isabella Kearns, (1:33.65), with BYU taking third (1:33.89).
On the men’s side, Jack Burton, Keanu Interone and Bence Kiraly took first in the 150 breast relay (1:19.42), followed by Chad Sorensen, Stephen Richards, and Ryan Sorensen from BYU (1:20.46). Paul Unger, Keanu Interone, Jenna Marsh, and Gillian St. John came together to take first in the mixed 200 medley relay (1:38.28), followed by Rainer Ng, Stephen Richards, Zerlynn Tiang, and Natalie Bennion from BYU (1:39.56).
In the 500 free ladder relay, David Fraser, Daniel McArthur, Kiraly and Kron finished first (4:02.60) for the Utes, followed by BYU (4:08.55). For the women, BYU’s Allie Sorensen, Brenna Dickson, Vanessa Moffatt, and Ellie Thornbrue From BYU took first (4:34.77) as the Utah team of Williams, Darby Wayner, Jordan Anderson and Meisel take second (4:36.10).
In the 400 IM relay, Jordan Anderson, Darby Wayner, Julienne Tadena and Ashlyn Karosas from Utah claimed the top spot (4:01.71) against BYU (4:02.18) while BYU’s Stephen Richards, Luis Ventura, Rainer Ng, and Jake Taylor take first (1:29.13) in the 400 IM relay against Utah (1:30.59).
Emily Harris, Alora Foliaki, Brenna Dickson, and Ellie Thronbrue take first (3:31.27) as the Utes grabbed second after a close race (3:32.18). Taking second after BYU (3:04.96), was the team of Brendan Nguyen, Sean Bloore, Kristian Almberg and Peter Kotson (3:09.43) from Utah.
In the mixed 200 free relay, BYU’s team of Connor Stirling, Alora Foliaki, Allie Sorensen, and Kent Fellows took first (1:29.86) as Paul Unger, Gillian St. John, Dave Fraser and Rhi Williams from Utah took second (1:30.59).
The divers from Utah and BYU took to the pool as well and competed in the 200 free relay. A group consisting of Jacob Crayne, Lauren Hall, Nicole Ford and Connor Cain from Utah, took first (1:47.76) and Josiah Purss, Madison Cock, Olivia Payne and Keaton Quinn took second (1:49.70), with BYU coming in third (1:53.29).
The Utah women return to the pool next week, October 3rd, to host USC, while the men take a break. BYU will host its Alumni meet next Friday afternoon.