The Utah swimming and diving teams are coming off a strong fall season with multiple athletes recording new school records and NCAA standard times/marks, along with some of these athletes ranking among the fastest swimmers in both the nation and the Pac-12. Both men’s and women’s team will look to carry that momentum into the spring semester next year.
“We had a successful first half of the season,” said Utah head coach Joe Dykstra. “We had some great dual-meet performances and then achieved scores of lifetime best performances, a bunch of NCAA consideration cuts, and five school records at the Texas Invite. We did travel a lot the past three months, but the second half of the year will bring a lot more home meets and periods of great uninterrupted training to prepare us for great performances at Pac-12 [Championships] and NCAA [Championships].”
The Utah men, who currently rank No. 24 in the nation according to the College Swimming Coaches Association of America (CSCAA) Division I Team Rankings, went undefeated in dual-meets this past semester, going 6-0 overall and 1-0 in Pac-12 competition. The Utes opened the season with wins over Colorado Mesa (297-67), BYU (236-136) and Air Force (259-113) at the Intermountain Shootout in Grand Junction, Colo., and then went onto upset then-No. 20 Arizona (187-113) and UNLV (192-102) in a dual-meet in Las Vegas. The men’s squad won its only home meet of the fall semester, downing CMU (179-101) as well.
The Utah men closed out fall competition at the Texas Invite where 20 NCAA “B-cut” standards were recorded and five new school records were set.
Senior Nick Soedel had an amazing first half of the season, taking first-place in all of his individual events in dual-meets. He went on to being named the Pac-12 Swimmer of the Month for December – Utah’s first swimmer to earn the conference accolade. Soedel set NCAA “B-cut” standards in the 50 free (19.58), 100 free (43.01) and the 200 free (1:35.37), while currently ranking 14th in the nation in the 50 free, seventh in the 100 free and 19th in the 200 free.
Senior Alex Fernandes set a “B-cut” in both 50 free (19.86) and 100 free (43.70) as well, and he too ranks among the fastest in the nation coming in at No. 31 in the 50 free and No. 41 in the 100 free. Fernandes also set a “B-cut” in the 100 fly (46.07), which ranks third in the nation and set a new school record.
Junior Bence Kiraly set “B-cuts” in four different events, including the 200 free (1:35.21), 500 free (4:17.40), 1000 free (9:01.52) and 1650 free (14:51.17). He ranks among the top-35 in all four events, which includes ranking No. 10 in the 500 free and No. 4 overall in the 1650. His times in the 500, 1000 and 1650 free set new school records as well this semester.
Junior Quillan Oak set a new school record in the 200 breast (1:58.71) with his “B-cut” time and freshman Jack Burton set a “B-cut” time in the 200 breast (1:59.10) as well.
Remaining “B-cut” standards on the men’s side include freshman Austin Phillips in the 200 free (1:37.47), freshman Jay Bolinger in the 1650 free (15:19.64), Oak in the 100 breast (54.82), sophomore Keanu Interone in the 100 breast (55.05), Burton in the 100 breast (55.23), sophomore Luis Macias in the 200 fly (1:47.52), junior Kristian Kron in the 400 IM (3:51.61) and freshman Brandon Deckard in the 400 IM (3:53.53) as well.
The women’s squad went 3-4 overall and 0-2 against the Pac-12 in dual-meets this fall semester. Utah opened the season with a strong performance against No. 4 Stanford, but fell 124-174. The squad then went to Grand Junction and picked up wins against CMU (314-60) and BYU (291-83) before falling to Boise State (143.5-156.5) in Boise. Utah then went 1-1 in Las Vegas, falling to Arizona (90-210), but picking up a win over UNLV (208-91). The team closed out dual-meet competition with another strong effort against a highly ranked California squad, but fell to the Bears, 109.5-187.5.
The women’s team closed out the semester with a great meet at the Texas Invite as well, with 10 different NCAA “B-cut” standards being recorded.
Sophomore Stina Colleou continued to pace the women’s side, setting NCAA “B-cut” standards in both the 100 breast (1:01.40) and 200 breast (2:10.98). She currently ranks inside the top 50 in the nation and top 10 in the Pac-12 in both events heading into the spring semester.
Senior Giuliana Gigliotti set “B” standards in both the 50 free (22.85) and 100 free (49.33), while senior Maddie Jamora led the way with a “B” standard and team-best in the 50 free (22.59).
Freshman Megan Kawaguchi has a team-best in the 100 back (54.34), which also ranks as a NCAA “B-cut” standard, and junior Petra Soininen set a “B” standard in the 200 fly (1:58.66) as well.
Senior Melissa Paakh set a “B-cut” in the 100 fly (54.06), as did freshman Jenna Marsh (54.13) in the same event.
Utah divers had a great semester as well, on both the men’s and women’s sides. Head coach Richard Marschner is looking for great things from his teams heading into next semester.
“We’ve had a great first half of the year culminating with a fantastic meet at the Georgia Tech Invite,” said Marschner. “We have been bit by the injury bug a little, but everyone is almost all fully healthy and we will be ready to rock in the second half of the season.”
Junior Jacob Crayne had an outstanding fall semester, which led to his being named the Pac-12 Diver of the Month for December. He recorded wins in all three one-meter events he competed in during November, along with three top-five finishes in his three-meter events. He opened the month with a win in the one-meter and a fifth-place finish in the three-meter in a tri-meet with UNLV and Arizona in Las Vegas. Crayne then scored a 390.75 in the one-meter against CMU, a mark that is second best in school history, while also winning the three-meter with a score of 300.22. He rounded out the month by placing first in the one-meter and second in the three-meter at the Georgia Tech Invitational, a meet featuring some of the nation’s top divers.
Sophomore Amanda Casillas opened the season with second-place finishes in both the one-meter (274.88) and three-meter (274.35), qualifying for the Zone-E Championships in both events. She then went onto record a first-place finish in the three-meter (270.83) at Boise State and had a first-place finish in the one-meter (276.15) against Cal. She finished second in the three-meter against Cal, but recorded a season-best score of 283.43 in the event. She had a top 10 finish in the one-meter (263.25) at the Georgia Tech Invite, where she competed against some of the toughest competition in the nation.
Senior Jasmine Matkovic took top honors in the one-meter (264.07) at Boise State and freshman Lauren Hall set personal bests in both the one-meter (241.35) and three-meter (264.98) at the same meet.
Utah signed 11 athletes to National Letters-of-Intent this past semester as well, including eight swimmers (three men, five women) and three divers (one male, two women).
The Utah swimming and diving teams will open the spring semester with a Pac-12 dual-meet against Arizona State on Jan. 9, 2015. The meet will take place at the Mona Plummer Aquatic Center in Tempe, Ariz.
Below is a list of highlights from the 2014 fall semester:
NEW SCHOOL RECORDS
500 Free – Bence Kiraly (4:17.40)
1000 Free – Bence Kiraly (9:01.52)
1650 Free – Bence Kiraly (14:51.17)
100 Fly – Alex Fernandes (46.07)
200 Breast – Quillan Oak (1:58.71)
NCAA TOP-50 TIMES (Pac-12 Rank)
50 Free – No. 14, Nick Soedel, 19.58 (3rd)
50 Free – No. 31, Alex Fernandes, 19.86 (8th)
100 Free – No. 7, Nick Soedel, 43.01 (2nd)
100 Free – No. 41, Alex Fernandes, 43.70 (13th)
200 Free – No. 16, Bence Kiraly, 1:35.21 (3rd)
200 Free – No. 19, Nick Soedel, 1:35.37 (4th)
500 Free – No. 10, Bence Kiraly, 4:17.40 (2nd)
1000 Free – No. 32, Bence Kiraly, 9:16.98 (4th)
1650 Free – No. 4, Bence Kirably, 14:51.17 (1st)
1650 Free – No. 44, Jay Bolinger, 15:19.64 (8th)
100 Fly – No. 3, Alex Fernandes, 46.07 (1st)
50 Free – No. 40, Maddie Jamora, 22.59 (10th)
100 Free – No. 41, Giuliana Gigliotti, 49.33 (13th)
100 Breast – No. 46, Stina Colleou, 1:01.40 (10th)
200 Breast – No. 20, Stina Colleou, 2:10.98 (5th)
College Swimming News Courtesy of Utah Swimming and Diving.