Utah Swim and Dive Splits Weekend in Provo


Jack Gambassi

Junior U of U swimmer, Andrei Ungur, 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


The Utes swimming and dive team traveled down to Provo this weekend to compete against arch-rival BYU. The Utes split their dual-meet, with the women taking home a dominating win with a final score of 206-94, improving to 9-0 under head coach Joe Dykstra, who has done a fantastic job with the women. The men fell in a closer competition, with a final score of 180-120 on Saturday. 

The dive team kicked the weekend off with a short night of competition on Friday evening.

Senior Tony Chen, who has had a tremendous season, continued to be a star for the Utes, securing the victory in the 1M with an official score of 337.50. Luke McDivitt and Jenner Pennock finished in second and third with scores of 303.98 and 294.38, respectively. Freshman Ben Smyth also had a solid showing with a fifth-place finish and a score of 288.98.

For the women, junior Lizzy DeCecco placed second on the 3M dive with a score of 269.40 while senior Lexi Mills and freshman Holly Waxman finished third and fifth with scores of 267.98 and 258.38 respectively.

“We had a decent night of events as we had some nerves get the best of us,” head diving coach Richard Marschner told Utah Athletics. “But we did what we needed to do to position us for tomorrow and I’m confident that we’ll come back with a couple of really strong events.”

The Utes won their first race on Saturday very quickly, as their 400-medley relay team of Emma Lawless, Charity Pittard, Katie Hale and Leyre Casarin earned a victory in 3:46.66. The men’s team that consisted of JP Hynes, Lex Hernandez-Nietling, Santiago Contreras and Lucas Calderon finished in third-place with a time of 3:21.54, despite staying close to BYU all race.

Marlene Sandberg won the 1000 free with a time of 10:28.11 with Taylor Kabacy finishing behind in a close second with a time of 10:35.66. Jackson Cunningham earned a season-best 9:49.19 en route to a third-place finish in the men’s 1000 free.

Summer Stanfield, who has been turning eyes since transferring from LSU, competed against BYU for the first time. She earned victories in the 200 free, 200 back and 200 IM with times of 1:51.38, 2:00.59 and 2:03.81, respectively.

The 100 back was another strong victory for the women. Lawless won the event with a time of 55.61 while Norah Hay and Kate Leary finished second and third. Lawless also won the 100 fly with a time of 56.22, capping off her dominant day.

The men’s team went down to the wire on the 100 back, but Andrei Unur and JP Hynes finished second and third with times of 49.87 and 49.93, respectively. BYU’s Diego Camacho narrowly won with a time of 49.40.

The Utes were also able to sweep the 200 breast for both the women and men, as Pittard finished with a time of 2:18.72 for the women, and freshman Baylor Lewis captured his first collegiate victory with a time of 2:03.64.

The women continued to show that they were on another level on Saturday, as freshman Mila Ruthven (2:06.48) led a Utah team that finished first-fourth in the 200 fly. Harper Lechman, Sadie Edwards and Taylor Alicea-Jorgensen finished behind her in second, third and fourth, respectively.

The dive team competed in their second and final day of the weekend on Saturday. Chen swept his dives, winning the 3M with a score of 356.10 while McDivitt and Smyth placed third and fourth with scores of 333.30 and 318.00 respectively.

Waxman finished second with a score of 283.13 on the 1M, leading the women’s team. DeCecco and Mills followed behind her in third and fourth.

“We weren’t as sharp as I had expected today and I know we have much better performances in us,” Coach Marschner said via Utah Athletics. “Our training has been lights out and I am confident that we will see that translate into better meet results next weekend and beyond.”

The Utes dive team will head to Colorado Springs next weekend to compete in the Air Force Diving Invitational from Feb. 3-5. The invite will start Thursday morning at 9 a.m. MST and finish up on Saturday at 2:30 p.m.

The women’s swim team has a nice break, as they won’t compete until the Pac-12 Championships from Feb. 23-26, while the men’s team has one more dual-meet on Saturday, Feb. 12 against USC.

Utah is nearing the end of an exciting swim and dive season. They hope to finish strong in their final meets as they prepare for the upcoming Pac-12 Championships. 


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