It was an in-state rival showdown over the weekend as the University of Utah swimming and diving teams hosted BYU at the Ute Natatorium; the Utes dominated in both events. The Utah women finished with a score of 210 compared to the BYU women who earned a 90. The Utah men finished with a score of 210, while an 89 belonged to the BYU men. Head coach Joe Dykstra believes the energized crowd kept both teams battling.
“There’s always a little more enthusiasm on the deck at this meet and a lot of that comes from the crowd,” Dykstra said. “We’re always standing at this meet, and you can see the way people were watching through the windows. It was a great crowd and they bring a lot of energy to both teams.”
Senior Jack Burton continued a dominate final year with the Utes as he finished in first place in the 200 breastroke event with a time of 2:06.25. Another experienced swimmer, Paul Ungur earned first place in the 100 fly with a time of 49.55. Dorien Butter put forth a solid performance for the women, as she came in with a first-place time of 51.61 in the 100 free.
Although the veterans had an impressive day, the younger Utes also came ready to claim top spots. Sophomore Liam O’Haimhirgin finished in first place in the 100 free, while freshman Felix Chiun showed off his speed and technique to push him to a second place finish in the same event. Freshman Emma Broome put up a time of 57.97 for the win in the 100 fly for the women.
The BYU men’s team worked tirelessly to topple senior Nathan Makarewicz in both the one-meter and three-meter diving events. BYU came close, but it failed to top Makarewicz who finished with a score of 342.00 in the one-meter dive for the victory and a 315.98 earning him a first place finish in the three-meter. Freshman Emma Ruchala earned first place with a score of 291.68 in the three-meter dive.
“I couldn’t be more proud,” Dykstra said. “We had a big week of training so we were swimming tired, and I think the times kind of reflect that. They were not anywhere near our season bests or anything, but it was [a] great competitive fight. It’s two weeks in a row that I think the team has come ready to compete with whatever they have in the tank that day. They’re coming to compete hard. That’s a really good place to be going into the championship meets.”
The competitiveness of the Utes was apparent in the men’s 500 free where sophomores Rahiti De Vos and Matteo Sogne shined. The duo came away with the top two spots. De Vos finished with a time of 4:38.77 alongside 4:42.07 for Sogne.
“The BYU meet is always something special,” Sogne said. “Every dual meet is really intense, but when it comes to the BYU meet there’s something that makes the air more sparkling and pushes every one of us to give something more. I am pretty happy on how I performed today [Saturday]. Winning is always fun, but when it comes to win against BYU, it feels a little bit different.”
Sogne believes a big reason for the team’s success comes from the relationships and chemistry the Utes have built. He believes the connection the team has is stronger than any other program in the country.
“We had a great team performance today [Saturday], and that’s what matters the most to me at the end of the day,” Sogne said. “Having everyone cheer for each teammate is something great, and I feel that there isn’t a team in the nation that does it better than us.”