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The Daily Utah Chronicle

The University of Utah's Independent Student Voice

The Daily Utah Chronicle

The University of Utah's Independent Student Voice

The Daily Utah Chronicle

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Double dip

By Tony Pizza

Swimming seems like a sport where the home crowd wouldn’t have much effect on an outcome. For one, a swimmer’s head is submerged in thousands of gallons of water, and a coach basically has to mimic the mating call of a 100-pound songbird just so his swimmers can distinguish his instructions amidst the chaos of a race.

The men of the U’s swimming team proved, however, that the home crowd does matter as they fed off the energy of the Ute Natatorium and came away with upset wins in back-to-back meets this weekend.

The Utes, who have not competed in front of their home crowd for more than three months, started the weekend off by thumping Wyoming Friday night.

On the women’s side, both teams came into the meet undefeated, but it didn’t take the Ute women long to establish which was the more dominant team as the women cruised to a 134-100 win.

“We never go into a meet expecting to win, but we go at it with 100 percent regardless,” said Adrienne Coburn with a little help from her media consultant and top MWC diver Kelsey Patterson.

The Wyoming men came into Friday’s meet with a bit of confidence after taking last year’s Mountain West Champion UNLV Rebels to the wire a week earlier. But that didn’t seem to phase the Ute men one bit.

Feeding off the crowd, the men jumped out to the same early lead that their female counterparts did, and they never looked back. The Utes went on to beat the Cowboys by a score of 137-103.

Michel DeCarolis and David Maasberg led Utah in a performance that saw the Utes drop only one swimming event to the Cowboys, resulting in the Utes’ first conference win in three tries.

The Utes did not have much time to celebrate the win, as they had to prepare for a quick turnaround against MWC heavyweight Air Force the following afternoon. The turnaround did, however, preserve the Utes’ glow from their win against Wyoming the night before.

Although the Air Force men were fresh off their first loss of the season- which came at the hands of BYU Friday night-the Falcons were still heavy favorites going into Saturday’s meet.

Air Force’s Chris Knaute got the Falcons off to a quick start with wins in both the 1650 and 200 freestyle events.

The Utes hung in the meet by finishing second and third in many of the early events, and they got a huge boost from Andrew Cole and David Johnson, who took the top two podium spots in the 100 backstroke.

Later, the Utes took control of the meet when Maasberg and Ute sophomore George Evans proved to be each other’s toughest opponent in the 100 free. Evans barely nudged Maasberg by a hundredth of a second to claim a slim victory in Saturday’s second sprint event.

The Utes continued to help themselves out, not necessarily by winning races, but by having enough team depth to round out the remaining two podium spots.

The Utes went on to claim a 154-146 win that truly captured the essence of a team victory. Every swimmer’s effort was so important that it was often hard to judge whether a first-place finish was more important than someone else’s third-place showing.

For example, freshman Seamus Alger obviously helped his team by winning the 400 IM, but his third-place finish in the 200 fly was equally important to the Utes.

“Seamus showed a lot today,” said U head coach Mike Litzinger. “His win helped us to be able to get this victory.”

Another strong factor in the Utes’ win was the two Utes’ helping their team on the diving end of the pool.

Senior Damian Brown led the way, and his teammate Andrew Jones was not far behind as the two Utes racked up first- and second-place finishes in both the 1- and 3-meter diving events.

“It’s great that we were able to step up and compete with a team like this,” Litzinger said. “We snuck out a couple in the early going and were able to ride the momentum and take over.”

For the Ute women, Air Force didn’t pose much of a threat coming into the meet, and the Falcons didn’t do much to change that thinking during the meet.

The women won their ninth straight meet by beating the Falcons 153-117. Even though that score is by no means close, the Utes swam this meet much differently from how they normally do.

The Utes were led once again by the people that have been getting the job done for the Utes all season long-those swimmers just helped in slightly different ways Saturday.

Amber Walter, who is a freestyle sprint specialist, competed in and won the 100 backstroke. Her teammate Adrienne Coburn, who is one of the best 200 freestyle swimmers in the conference, took home a victory in the seldom-swum 200 backstroke.

Many other swimmers swam off-events, which not only gave them something different to compete in during a less competitive meet, but this also allowed other Ute swimmers the chance to qualify for the MWC Championships next month.

Kim Peterson

Michel DeCarolis swims the 200-yard breaststroke, taking second in the race, as teammates cheer him on. Both the men’s and women’s swim teams beat Air Force on Saturday in the Ute Natatorium.

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