Utah Swim and Dive Have Strong Weekend Showing


By Carlos Padilla


As the sun set in Los Angeles, the University of Utah men’s and women’s dive teams completed their final events in the weekend-long UCLA Diving Invitational. The weekend’s events started off strong for the Utes as sophomore Tony Chen made his presence known right off the bat, securing a win in the 3m event. Chen was dominant throughout the opening afternoon, boasting a preliminary score of 379.75 and taking that momentum the distance. Luke McDivitt barely missed the last slot for the Utes, ending his performance in 19th overall. 

For the women’s team, Emma Ruchala and Lizzy DeCecco made strong showings in the 1m event. Ruchala’s impressive performance led to a 10th place finish. DeCecco started off a bit slow, yet through a gritty effort, she worked her way into the top 15. 

“Today was one of the best days we have ever had at this meet. Tony was locked in all day ,and his win on 3m was impressive,” said Head Coach Richard Marschner in a statement to Utah Athletics. “Emma and Lizzy fought through a long and difficult preliminary round to qualify for the finals. Emma’s finish was a great result, and I am excited for what should be an even better day tomorrow.”

With the diving teams in California, the women’s swim team started their senior weekend at home with a splash in a meet against Nevada. The Utes came to compete, capturing the first four individual events. Sara McClendon took the 1000 free (10:19.40). Following behind, Rebecca Zeiger was top of the 100 back (1:53.98). McKenna Gassaway and Emma Broome won the 100 breast and back respectively.

The evening finished on a positive note with Utah’s 400 relay team coming in victorious with a final time of 3:27.02. Freshmen Maddie Woznick and Kyla Yetter took the top spots in the 50 free. The team finished the day with a score of 150-108.

The second day in Los Angeles saw McDivitt rebound in a big way. The current Pac-12 Diver of the Month put Friday’s 19th placement behind him and took third in the platform events. Chen’s outing lacked the same flare as opening night, placing one spot out of qualification in 13th. The women had another successful showing. Ruchala and Regan Caufield reached the 3m finals, placing 13th and 16th, respectively. 

While the divers had a respectable showing, the women’s swim team made their seniors proud with a victory over the Denver Pioneers. Copying their success from the previous evening, the lady Utes took the first four events. 

McClendon and Yetter reached the top spots in the 1000 and 200 free. Audrey Reimer proved queen of the backstroke, winning both the 100 and 200 yard races.

The top performer of the evening for the Utes was Charity Pittard, winning three events (100 breast, 200 breast, 400 IM). Junior Leyre Casarin was the victor of the 50 and 100 free. The evening was closed with a victory by the 400 free relay, and the Utes won 160-102. The only low point in the evening was the men’s performance. Only Ben Waterman was able to capture a win in the 100 fly. The men ultimately lost 79-183.

The Utes capped their aquatic weekend by leaving a strong impression in the Golden State. Chen made the most of the final day of competition and finished fourth in the 1m. Unfortunately, McDivitt and Chase Hindmarsh missed the qualifying marks in the 1m. DeCecco had the best performance for the ladies, placing 14th in the platform events. 

“We faded at the finish today and did not have our best performances,” said Marschner. “It was an opportunity for us to learn what we need to do in order to compete at a high level at the Pac-12 Championships and NCAA Zones.” 

With the end of the invitational, the Utes will have two weeks before the aquatic Holy War against arch-rival BYU. 


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