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Swim & Dive Bring Home The Hardware from Big Al Invitational.

Dec 5, 2021

PRINCETON, N.J. – The Utah swimming and diving team closed out the first half of its season on Sunday evening, with both them men and women taking home the hardware at the Big Al Invitational. The men tallied 1075.5 points to secure the victory over meet host Princeton (1015.5) and the women scored 1005 points to also beat Princeton (849) en route to the teams first victory of the season. 

Final Team Rankings

Men Women
1. Utah - 1075.5 1. Utah - 1005
2. Princeton - 1015.5 2. Princeton - 849
3. Columbia - 615.5  3. Denver - 639
4. Denver - 529.5 4. George Washington - 539
5. George Washington - 469 5. Rutgers - 513
6. TCU - 37 6. TCU - 73
7. Columbia - 48 

Freshmen Marlene Sandberg and Taylor Kabacy got the Utes rolling out of the gates finishing one-two in the 1650 free. Sandberg finished in 16:36.45 as Kabacy was right behind touching in 16.37.52.
Moving to the 200 back, Emma Lawless and Norah Hay led the Utes placing second (1:56.61) and third (1:57.69), respectively.  
Leyre Casarin captured the second victory of the day for the women of Utah in the 100 freestyle with a time of 49.30. Sophomore Kayla Miller and Madeline Woznick had strong performances going stroke for stroke to finish in seventh (50.78) and eighth (50.81) as Katie Hale earned 10th in 51.17.
Charity Pittard followed up the win by Casarin in the 100 free by taking the title in the 200 breast (2:12.53). Anelise Hedges finished two back in third (2:15.83) and Krystal Lieu topped her previous personal-best (2:18.81) posting a time of 2:16.90, good for fifth.
The 400 free relay team of Casarin, Woznick, Lawless and Miller closed out the invite with a solid showing placing third in 3:20.88.   
Despite a large percent of the women's team being either first or second years, the team showed immense maturity and ability against some of the top teams from back East.
The Utes made their presence felt from the start by placing three inside the top-10 in the 1650 free. Jackson Cunningham touched first for Utah in 15:24.62, good for third. Nick Becker was the second Utah finisher in sixth (15:30.00) as his brother, Dylan Becker, placed ninth in 15:32.26.
In the 200 back, Ryan Garstang was the Utes top finisher in fourth (1:45.93) as Preston Planells battled in a close race to capture seventh (1:46.62).
The men displayed their dominance in the 100 free with five swimmers placing in the top-10. Finn O'Haimhirgin and JP Hynes went stroke for stroke with Princeton's Max Walther, both just beating him out as O'Haimhirgin touched first (43.66) and Hynes right after in second (43.93). Marko Kovacic (sixth, 44.32), Santi Contreras (eighth, 44.78) and Lucas Calderon (10th, 44.88) rounded out the top finishers for Utah.
Baylor Lewis and Jaek Horner earned top-10 finishes in the 200 breast, finishing eighth (2:00.92) and ninth (1:57.02), respectively. Noah Carlson lead the Utes in the 200 fly (seventh, 1:49.34) with Ben Waterman finishing two spots behind in ninth (1:44.44).
Utah secured the tournament victory with the A and B 400 free relay teams placing first and second in an intense finish. The B squad of Cooper Deryk, Andrei Ungur, Contreras and Calderon took the event title in 2:55.42 as the A team of Horner, Hynes, Kovacic and O'Haimhirgin finished second in 2:55.51.
Complete results from Sunday's finals can be viewed here and results from all three days can be seen here.
In the diving well, freshman Ben Smyth set a DeNunzio pool record on the platform with a score of 398.95. Luke McDivitt finished in third (347.85) and Jenner Pennock placed right behind in fourth (328.65). 

Holly Waxman and Lexi Mills finished inside the top-10 to lead the Utes. Waxman secured sixth with a score of 217.50 and Mills posted 216.30, good for seventh. 

"We had a great overall meet with 10 personal bests and a pool record set by Ben on the platform," head diving coach Richard Marschner said. "It was another really solid invite for us and we're looking really good going into the second half of the season. I'm excited for us to get some training in and continue our excellence after the break." 

Looking Ahead
The Utes won't be back in action until after the holiday break. Utah will travel down south for a pair of Pac-12 dual meets against Arizona State on Friday, Jan. 14, and Arizona on Saturday, Jan. 15.

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