In what will be its first road meet of the season, the University of Utah swimming and diving teams will head to Arizona to compete against No. 8 ranked Arizona State on Friday, Oct. 27 at 5 p.m. MT. Utah will then travel to Tucson for a Saturday meet against Arizona at noon.
“We’re excited. First time to go on the road as a team so that’s always a fun time and a new experience. The first away meet for our freshmen,” said head coach Joe Dykstra. “It’s also a chance to go down in elevation for us to near sea level, so all our kids always get excited about that to go race in a couple of good pools down close to the sea level.”
Distance swimmer Matteo Sogne is looking forward to heading to Arizona, and he expects the race at sea level to play in his favor.
“I expect to do good,” Sogne said. “I expect to swim pretty well, especially because we go from altitude to sea level so it’s always nice to race at sea level.”
It’s not only the change in altitude that has the team energized, but it’s the chance to compete against teams that Utah feels it matches up well with.
“It’s also back to back opponents and some people might feel a little bit tired, but it’s a good chance to pull out a good result and race people closer to us,” Sogne said. “Coming from those two very hard dual meets, Cal and Stanford, maybe racing people closer to us might give us an extra boost to be closer to them”.
After a strong showing against Stanford, the diving team is going into the weekend with confidence. Freshman Emma Ruchala, who stood out during Friday’s home meet with a score of 268.43 in the 1-meter diving event, looks poised heading into the upcoming meet.
“I’m super excited to go out and dive. It will be fun to dive outside,” Ruchala said. “I just want to do my best. I’m doing more of my optional on 3 meters, so I’m excited to do those too.”
Utah will continue to look to freshman Felix Chiun and Emma Bromme to make an impact this weekend. Chiun had a first place finish this past weekend and Broome impressed with her performance in the 200 yard medley and 200 yard backstroke events.
As those two Utes will try to help Utah leave Arizona with two conference wins, Dykstra knows they are in for a challenge and that Utah can’t take either team lightly.
“Both very good programs. There’s no easy out in the Pac-12,” Dykstra said. “They’ve [ASU] got a ton of talent on both sides, swimming and diving. We’ll have our hands full on Friday. Arizona, [we] don’t know as much what to expect. They have a new coaching staff this year and it will be our first meet, so we’ll see.”