Run-in with the Rebels

By By Tony Pizza

By Tony Pizza

Both starting portions of the U swim and dive team will take their 2-0 starts back on the road Saturday for an important early Mountain West dual meet against UNLV.

The Rebels may pose the stiffest challenge for the swim team so far. The Rebel men are looking to defend their conference championship, and though they are 0-1 on the year, they present plenty of very tough competition for the Utes.

“The UNLV men are the best team in the league and we expect them to be at their best,” said U head coach Mike Litzinger. “This is traditionally a very competitive dual meet and we are looking forward to the opportunity to compete against them.”

Two Ute men have jumped off to very strong starts, but each has a pair of daunting tasks ahead of him.

Recent Mountain West Swimmer of the Week Adam Oliver will need to be at his best if he is going to beat the University of Nevada, Las Vegas’ best long distance swimmer, Johan Claar.

Although Oliver has finished first in all three of the distance events he has participated in the year, he has yet to post a time faster than Claar’s only times in either the 500 or 1000 freestyle events.

The same can be said for David Maasberg, who has been equally as dominant in the freestyle sprint events. Maasberg will likely have to improve on his previous times in both the 50 and 100 freestyle events if he is going to beat UNLV’s top male sprinter Brandon Nelms.

Like Oliver, Maasberg has yet to post a time that is better than the times Nelms posted in UNLV’s only meet of the season.

For the women, this year’s deeper UNLV squad will look to give the U women a closer match than last year’s 148-95 Ute victory.

If the Ute women want to continue their hopes of an undefeated season, then the upperclassmen will have to step up big-time.

The UNLV women’s strengths lie in both the breaststroke and freestyle sprint events. Kim Bonney and Bail Kuestermeyer are the top breaststroke swimmers for the Rebels, and Katie Wronn is UNLV’s top sprinter.

It just so happens that Amber Walter and Adrienne Coburn also swim in the breaststroke events, and Walter and Ali McInturff swim in the freestyle sprint events. All three are multiple first-place finishers in both Ute meets this year.

With the times that the women on both Utah and UNLV have posted this year, every breaststroke and freestyle event will be decided by a few hundredths of a second.

“The UNLV women are very deep this year and have a lot of quality athletes. It should be a very competitive meet,” Litzinger said.

One of the only distinct advantages the Utes have going into the meet will be on the diving side of the Buchanan Natatorium. Utah diver Kelsey Patterson has continued to show why she earned Mountain West Diver of Year honors last year.

Andrew Jones-who was named Mountain West Diver of the Week Wednesday for sweeping the 1- and 3-meter diving events last week-will also be the favorite to win against the relatively weak Rebel men divers.