Note that this meet, held at the Richards Building Pool on BYU’s campus in Provo, UT, is at altitude.
FULL MEET RESULTS HERE
Jake Taylor broke a pool record in the 100 backstroke and the women’s meet came down to the touch, literally, in an explosive meet between Grand Canyon University and Brigham Young University. This was BYU’s last home meet and their senior day, as well as GCU’s final dual meet of the season.
Vanessa Moffatt and Riley Buer were key contributors in BYU’s one point victory over Grand Canyon University yesterday at BYU, as they each one twice. Moffatt took the distance freestyles, topping the 1000 free (10:42.29) and the 500 free (5:11.32), leading a 1-2 charge in the 1000 and a 1-2-3-4 sweep in the 500. Buer squeaked out a win in the 100 breast (1:06.19), coming from behind to edge teammate Anna Dahl (1:06.34) and GCU’s Vangelina Draganova (1:06.84). She took control of the 200 breast, though, winning that race in 2:22.66, well ahead of Draganova (2:24.32).
Strangely enough, these were the only individual events that the Cougars won. They dropped the opening 200 medley relay in a very close contest; BYU led going into the freestyle leg, but Jovanna Koens swam a 23.60 to out touch Alora Foliaki (23.92) for the win. Koens was hot all meet, winning the 50 free (24.05) by over three tenths, and then coming back after the break to take the 100 free (52.77) over BYU’s Lauren Taylor (52.95). She was a key part of the grand finale 200 free relay, in which the most adrenaline pumping race of the meet went down. But we’ll get to that a little later.
Hannah Kastigar, a sophomore out of Aberdeen, South Dakota, provided a huge boost for the Antelopes of GCU with three individual wins. She first swam the fly leg of the winning 200 medley relay, which touched at 1:46.54 to BYU’s 1:46.75, and then finished first in the 200 free (1:53.73) shortly after. Kastigar proceeded to destroy the 200 fly field, winning in 2:02.96, the only swimmer under 2:08. In the 100 fly, she picked up her fourth win overall, touching in 56.26, over a second and a half ahead of 2nd place finished Haley Bertoldo of BYU (57.85).
Also big for the Antelopes was Iryna Glavnyk, of Ukraine. The sophomore notched three individual wins as well, taking the 100 back (56.27), the 200 back (2:03.45), and 200 IM (2:07.64). In addition, Glavnyk was the lead off leg for the Antelopes’ 200 medley relay, where she split a 26.85, the fastest in the field.
Back to that grand finale now. BYU held a slim lead of three points over GCU going into the final relay, and nervous energy packed the pool deck. Grand Canyon needed a win in this relay, and they certainly had momentum after Antelope swimmers Glavnyk and Iegor Lytvenok won the women’s and men’s 200 IM directly before. The Antelopes also had their anchor hero, Koens, who was primed for another electrifying swim after her three previous big wins. After three legs, Koens found herself around a half second back, and dove in to try to reel in Foliaki again. As the volume rose from the stands and the two swimmers battled to the wall, all eyes swiveled to the board. A TIE! The two teams tied with a final time of 1:36.74, and it was enough to hold off the late Antelope charge. BYU 131.5, GCU 130.5.
The Cougar men got off to a hot start, winning the opening medley relay (1:30.43) over an Antelope relay which featured a 19.77 anchor leg from Illya Glazunov. GCU touched 2nd in 1:31.16. BYU charged with a 1-2-3 sweep in the 1000 free, led by James Sorenson (9:52.17). Picking up the win in the 200 free to break up the Cougar win streak was Antelope Stanislav Saiko (1:42.33).
Coming through big time for the Cougars was breakout star Jake Taylor, who didn’t swim at NCAA’s last year but had a huge meet at the Texas Invite, where he swam to a then-nation best 45.95 in the 100 backstroke. That time holds now as the third fastest in the nation. Taylor won the 100 back in a very solid 47.99 to break his home pool record, then returned to go head-to-head with Glazunov in the sprint freestyles.
Taylor edged Glazunov, who had just split a 19.7 on the medley relay, 20.61 to 20.62 in perhaps the most intense race on the men’s side. In the 100 free, Taylor and Glazunov hit the 50 mark one hundredth apart (figures) but Taylor pulled away to win it in 45.89 to Glazunov’s 46.44.
Rainer Ng won both butterfly events for the Cougars and Stephen Richards touched first in the breaststrokes, as BYU won all but four events. The most impressive victory for the Antelopes came in the 200 backstroke, where Lytvenok, who would go on to win the 200 IM, too, wrecked the field. He was out in 24.8 and held onto 26’s the rest of the way, dropping a 1:44.78 as the only swimmer under 1:50.
While BYU finished almost two seconds behind GCU in the 200 free relay, Glazunov and Taylor both had solid anchor splits. Glazunov dipped under 20 again, splitting 19.92, as Taylor was 20.02 to anchor his own relay. Despite this late run from GCU, BYU had all but locked up the meet, and they won it with a final score of 159-103.
This marks the final dual meet for the Antelopes. Grand Canyon will prepare in the coming weeks for the WAC Championships, and BYU will travel to take on the Utah Utes next on February 7th.