The rematch of the Arizona-Utah dual, perhaps the biggest college dual meet upset of last season, will happen this weekend, with UNLV joining the meet and hosting.
The dual between the Wildcats and Utes was a huge surprise at the time. The Utah men, in their first season under head coach Joe Dykstra, came out guns blazing at home, knocking off Arizona, which finished in 5th place at the previous year’s NCAA Championships. The meet came down to the last relay and wound up being decided by just 4 points.
That was the start of two very different seasons for the two programs. The Utes crushed multiple school records and won their first-ever individual Pac-12 titles courtesy of Bence Kiraly and Nick Soedel. The Wildcats, meanwhile, had to press through a bit of a tumultuous season that included head coach Eric Hansen taking a leave of absence shortly after the Utah loss and ultimately resigning mid-season.
This season, the two teams meet on neutral ground, with the UNLV Runnin’ Rebels turning the meet into a triangular and hosting the two rival programs in Las Vegas. The addition of UNLV brings their great sprinter Dillon Virva in to challenge Utah’s Soedel.
Arizona swam without defending NCAA champs Kevin Cordes and Brad Tandy in their only meet so far this year, a loss to Wisconsin. But we’ve been told both swimmers should be back in action this Saturday as the ‘Cats look for revenge against Utah and UNLV.
The Wildcat women, on the other hand, are undefeated in two contests this year in their first full season under Rick DeMont. This will be the first major meet for the UNLV men and women, and the Utah women are coming off a narrow loss to defending Mountain West champions Boise State on the road.
Full Utah press release:
Utah Swimming and Diving Take on Arizona and UNLV This Saturday.
Both Ute teams head to Las Vegas this Saturday.
SALT LAKE CITY- After a three-week break from competition, the Utah swimming and diving teams will head to Las Vegas, Nev., to take on Arizona and UNLV this Saturday, Nov. 1 at the Buchanan Natatorium. The meet will get underway, beginning at 2 p.m. (MT)
“After a terrific couple weeks of uninterrupted training we are excited to get back into a competition,” said Utah head coach Joe Dykstra. “This will be a very high caliber double dual meet. Arizona obviously is a perennial top-10 team at NCAA’s and presents the challenge of numerous national and international superstars on their roster, while UNLV is perhaps the premier men’s mid-major program in the nation and has a team capable of finishing in the top 20 at NCAA’s. All in all, it should be a very exciting and compelling competition and we are all excited to show what we can do.”
The Utah men’s squad (3-0) is coming off three wins over U.S. Air Force Academy (259-113), Colorado Mesa (297-113) and BYU (236-136) at the Intermountain Shootout back on Oct. 3-4. The women’s squad (2-2), who received votes in the latest College Swimming Coaches Association of America (CSCAA) poll, is coming off a loss to No. 23 Boise State (143.5-156.5), but earned a pair of victories at the Intermountain Shootout as well with wins over Colorado Mesa (314-60) and BYU (291-83).
Last season, the men’s squad defeated Arizona, who was ranked No. 3 at the time, by a score of 152-148. Heading into the final event of the meet, the 400 free relay team that consisted of Nick Soedel, Alex Fernandes, Jonas Holmstrom and Ken Tiltges took first-place ahead of the Wildcats with a time of 3:02.11. The team of Bence Kiraly, David Fraser, Karson Applin and Alex Brown came in third-place to give Utah a total of 13 points, which ultimately led to the upset victory.
Despite three first-place finishes for the women’s squad last season, Arizona came away with the victory over Utah, 204-96.
The Arizona men’s team, who finished last season ranked No. 12 according to the CSCAA poll, is coming off a 167.5-112.5 loss to Wisconsin, while the No. 10-ranked women’s squad has a pair of wins over Wisconsin (180-101) and Washington State (172-89).
This will be the first meet for both UNLV men’s and women’s teams.
Following Saturday’s meet, the men’s team will host its first home event of the season as they take on Colorado Mesa next Friday, Nov. 7 at Ute Natatorium. The women will be back in action Friday, Nov. 14, hosting No. 4 California.