Utah Men’s Swim and Dive Loses Winning Streak against UNLV


Jack Gambassi

U of U swimmer during the swim and dive meet vs The Colo Mesa Mavericks on Jan 23, 2021 at the Ute Natatorium on campus. (Photo by Jack Gambassi | The Daily Utah Chronicle)

By Max Lepore, Sports Writer


On Saturday, Nov. 7, the University of Utah men’s swimming and dive team competed in their dual meet against the University of Nevada, Las Vegas at the Buchanan Natatorium. The Utes lost with a final score of 123.50-174.50, which ended their streak of seven straight wins against the UNLV rebels. Saturday was the Utes’ first meet since Oct. 22, where they lost a hard fought meet against No. 2 ranked California.

The Utes started the dual meet slow, finishing third in the 200 medley and the 1000 free. However, sophomore Marko Kovacic was able to continue his strong start to the season for the Utes. Kovacic won the first event for Utah, with a 1:39:01 time for the 200 free. After beating out Olympian Robin Hanson of California a couple weeks ago, Kovacic was able to keep his momentum.

In the 100 back event, Parker McOmber and Andrei Ungur were able to finish second and third with times of 49.54 and 49.70 respectively. While Utah wasn’t able to win the event, it was still a strong showing.

The strong individual performances continued for the Utes, as junior Noah Carlson finished second in the 200 butterfly with a time of 1:53:37. Fifth year senior Santiago Contreras, who had a huge victory in the 100 free against Cal, finished the 50 free with a season best time of 20.69, securing a third place finish.

Three of the next four events saw finishes of second place for the Utes. Senior Ben Waterman was then able to capture the Utes’ second swimming victory of the day in the 100 butterfly with a finishing time of 48.33. Contreras also earned a second place finish in the event with a time of 48.91.

While the swimming team for the Utes wasn’t able to keep up with a very strong UNLV Rebels’ team, the diving team had a very strong showing, as they earned victories in both of the dives.

In his season debut, senior Tony Chen led the Utes to diving victories in both the 1m and the 3m dives with scores of 401.15 and 331.50, respectively. Luke McDivitt, an All-American and former Pac-12 champion, also made his season debut as he was able to earn second in both the 1m and 3m dives with scores of 373.95 and 311.35, respectively. Chen and McDivitt’s strong performances helped lift the Utes in the diving portion of the dual meet.

Freshman Ben Smyth also had a strong showing in his second meet of the season, earning third in the 3m with his season-high score of 292.10. Junior Jenner Pennock also was able to earn third place in the 1m with a score of 313.90.

With finishes of first, second and third in both of the diving events, the Utes had a dominant effort, pleasing head diving coach Richard Marschner.

“We competed really well today and couldn’t be happier with how things went in the dive well,” Marschner told Utah Athletics. “This is a really hard pool to dive at and we came in, made no excuses and competed like champs today.”

Despite the diving team’s dominant performance and the swimming team’s strong individual efforts, the Utes still lost the dual meet to the Rebels, with a final score of 123.50 to UNLV’s 174.5.

The Utes’ swimming team doesn’t compete again until Dec. 3-5, when they’ll be in Princeton, New Jersey for the Princeton Invitational. The diving team has less of a break, as they will compete next in the Texas Diving Invitational in Austin, Texas from Nov. 18-20. 

Swimming and diving head coach Joe Dykstra has a season goal of finishing in the top twenty in the nation, and the Utes will look toward making progress on that goal in the coming months.


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