Swimming team honors former coach

The U swimming team begins its season on Saturday, Oct. 24 against BYU in the Don Reddish Relays. The swimming begins at 6 p.m. at the Ute Natatorium, but there will be a poolside alumni reception ceremony at 5 p.m. to begin the event.

The race is being named after longtime Ute swimming coach Don Reddish, who headed Utah’s swimming team from 1949 to 1990. This is the first time the Utah/BYU relays have been scheduled since the Michael Litzinger era began in 2001.

“I’m extremely pleased to be honoring a true Utah coaching legend like Don by naming this event after him,” coach Litzinger said. “He touched many swimmers’ lives, and an event like this to kick off the collegiate season fits perfectly.”

Last season, the Ute women turned in the best season in school history, going 10-8 overall and 5-2 in conference meets. This unexpected success earned Litzinger MWC Women’s Coach of the Year honors.

“Being recognized by your peers for a job well-done is always flattering. However, the award speaks more to the great team performance by our women,” Litzinger said.

Although relatively few swimmers are returning from that squad, several of the best performers from last season are among those who are back.

Seniors Kristen Kaiser and Neringa Statkeviciute will be the co-captains and are the standouts from last year’s group. Kaiser owns the MWC record in the 400 individual medley and also has several school records, including the 1000 freestyle and the 800 freestyle relay.

“Kristen has been the backbone of the team in distance events for the past two years,” Litzinger said. “This is her season to shine and become the leader on deck.”

Statkeviciute also owns part of the 800 freestyle relay record and also set the school record in the 200 freestyle.

Another standout performer returning from last year’s squad is junior Tessa Greegor. Last season, Greegor finished 13th in the 100-meter breaststroke at the U.S. Nationals. She also broke the longest standing Ute record in that same event.

The women’s team hopes strong performances from these swimmers as well as breakout years from some of their 13 freshmen will propel them to a conference title.

The men’s team struggled last season, with an overall record of 5-8, and a conference record of 1-4. Litzinger, however, feels that this is a program on the rise, and it has a chance to contend for the conference title this year.

For that to happen, the Utes will need strong performances from John Carlile, Trent Shino, David Fleisch and Cory Rempfer.

Litzinger has been stressing competition in the practice pools by having daily races to increase the winning attitude on the team.

“Winning attitudes turn into winning dual meets, and winning dual meets turns into success on the conference and national level,” Litzinger said.

The schedules for both the men’s and women’s teams provides a chance for this success. Among the strong national programs the Ute swimmers will face are Ohio State and Florida State. Add the tough conference opponents like Air Force and BYU, and the Utes could present themselves not only as conference contenders, but also as a team to be reckoned with nationally.

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