Swim & Dive Take on Denver, Colorado Mesa on Senior Day
SALT LAKE CITY- The Utah men's and women's swimming & diving team will celebrate its Senior Day on Saturday, Jan. 22nd, when it competes against both the University of Denver and Colorado Mesa University. The meet is set to begin at 11:30 a.m. MT and fans are encouraged to arrive early as Senior Day recognitions will begin at 11:15 a.m. MT, inside the Ute Natatorium.
"We are excited to get back to competition for the first time in over a month. We've obviously had some COVID disruption to our schedule this month, but Saturday will give us a chance to get back to it against two good opponents," head coach Joe Dykstra said. "It will also let us honor our seniors on their amazing careers. I couldn't be prouder of all they've accomplished, especially considering the difficulty of the past two years."
The University of Utah has issued a campus mask order consistent with the Salt Lake County's mandatory mask mandate that went into effect on Jan. 8, which requires all fans in attendance to wear a mask in the Ute Natatorium.
Dating back to the 2003-04 season, both the men and women have faced Denver a total of 16 times. For the men, they are 7-9 in the series and lost at home (183-79) in their last meeting against the Pioneers back in 2020. Inside the Ute Natatorium, Utah is 4-4 and looks to break the split on Saturday.
The women have had their way against Denver in the series history, owning a 10-6 record. The women of Utah have been tough to beat at home against the Pioneers taking the last two meetings in 2016-17 (158-140) and 2019-20 (160-102). The women have only lost one meet at home to Denver (2014-15, 156-144).
The men and women of Utah have been dominant against Colorado Mesa. Since the 2010-11 season, the men have taken home all meet titles against the Mavericks (7-0) including their latest matchup in 2020-21 in runaway victory at home (191-52). The women have only met Colorado Mesa four times, capturing the victories in each matchup. The women's last win over the Mavericks came in 2020-21 (176-67), in their first meeting with CMU at home.
"We're looking forward to getting back to competition after a long layoff," head diving coach Richard Marschner said. "We've had a lot of high-quality training and it'll be nice to be able to dive at home in a familiar environment. I'm expecting that we go out and have some really great performances and hopefully notch a few personal-bests."
A total of 13 seniors will be recognized on Saturday. The men's team will honor seniors Santiago Contreras, Andrew Britton, Tony Chen, Cooper deRyk, Ben Waterman and Jackson Cunningham. The women's team will be honoring Mandy Gebhart, Leyre Casarin, McKenna Gassaway, Emma Lawless, Sophia Morici, Marah Smith, and Zofia Niemczak.
How to Follow
Ute fans can follow the action during both meets by following the Utah Twitter page. Updates throughout the meet will be provided along with pictures of the action.
Last Time Out
The Utes are eager to get back into the pool after earning their first win of the 2021-2022 season at the Big Al Invitational, hosted by Princeton. It was an impressive showing, as the men tallied 1075.5 points to secure the victory over meet host Princeton (1015.5) and the women scored 1005 points to also top Princeton (849) en route to the team's first victory. Both the swim team and diving team performed well, capping what was a strong finish to the first half of the season.
"We had a great overall meet with 10 personal bests and a pool record set by Ben on the platform," coach 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."
The Utes got out to a strong start after the first day of the Big Al Invite collecting four outright event victories. The women's 200 free relay team of Leyre Casarin, Maddie Woznick, Kayla Miller and Emma Lawless took home the first victory finishing with a time of 1:31.33. The men's 200 free team of Cooper deRyk, Finn O'Haimhirgin, Santiago Contreras and Lucas Calderon followed up with a victory of their own touching first in 1:18.66, securing the Utes' second victory of the afternoon.
It was a dominate showing for both the men and women in the 50 free. Once again it was Casarin for the women who won the 50 free in 22.72 and deRyk on the men's side sharing the event title with Jonas Kistorp from Columbia University in 19.76.
On the boards, Tony Chen won the 1M dive scoring 340.05 as McDivitt finished second with a personal best 337.40. This score moved McDivitt into eighth all-time at Utah. For the women, Lexi Mills (303.25) and Holly Waxman (284.10) finished second and third, respectively, in the 3m dive.
On day two, the men's 200 medley team of Andrei Ungur, Andrew Britton, Cooper deRyk and Finn O'Haimhirgin swam hard to close out the victory in 1:24.47. Freshman Marko Kovacic won the 200 free in 1:35.61 and providing the men their third victory of the day was Andrei Ungur taking home the 100 back in 46.06.
The women of Utah started the final day of competion with a bang as Marlene Sandberg (16:36.45) and Taylor Kabacy (16:37.52) finished one-two in the 1650 free. Casarin captured the second victory of the day in the 100 free with a time of 49.30 and Charity Pittard kept the fun going by winning the 200 breast (2:12.53).
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). 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.
In the diving well, freshman Ben Smyth set a DeNunzio pool record on the platform with a score of 398.95 and moved himself into second all-time.
Pac-12 Women's Diver of the Month
Junior diver Lexi Mills was named Pac-12 Diver of the Month after a stellar performance at the Big Al Invitational Dec. 3-5. Hosted by Princeton, Mills never placed outside the top-seven in the events she competed in. Starting with the 3M dive on the opening day, Mills posted a score of 293.20 in the preliminary round to advance to the finals and followed that up with a 303.25 (NCAA Zones qualifying score) to lead the Utes placing second.
On day two, Mills posted a score of 271.50 in the 1M dive prelims and scored a 250.85 in the finals to finish seventh. The 271.50 she showcased in the prelims was also an NCAA Zones qualifying mark. The platform was the final event on the third day at the invitational and Mills posted a personal-best of 216.30, which was good for seventh.
NCAA B Times
Utah has a total of 12 swimmers that have recorded NCAA B cut times.
50 Free: Leyre Casarin (22.72), Cooper deRyk (19.51)
100 Free: Leyre Casarin (49.30), Finn O'Haimhirgin (43.48)
200 Free: Marko Kovacic (1:35.61)
1650 Free: Jackson Cunningham (15:24.62)
100 Back: Emma Lawless (53.88), Andrei Ungur (46.06), JP Hynes (47.17)
200 Back: Emma Lawless (1:56.25)
100 Breast: Jaek Horner (53.04)
200 Breast: Charity Pittard (2:12.53), Jaek Horner (1:57.02)
100 Fly: Emma Lawless (53.74), Ben Waterman (46.48), Cooper deRyk (47.43)
200 Fly: Ben Waterman (1:44.44)
200 IM: Ben Waterman (1:46.60)
200 Medley Relay Men: A squad: Andrei Ungur, Andrew Britton, Cooper deRyk, and Finn O'Haimhirgin (1:24.47)
The Utes will travel south down I-15 next weekend, Jan. 28-29, to compete against in-state rival BYU for a dual-match inside the BYU Richards Building Pool. The two-day meet will begin on Friday at 5:00 p.m. MT with the diving events. On Saturday, the meet will start at 11:00 a.m. MT with the swimming events.