All Cylinders Firing in Utah Swim and Dive’s Dominant Victory Over BYU


Jack Gambassi

A University of Utah swimmer races during the intrasquad swim meet on Friday, Sept. 16, 2022, at Ute Natatorium on campus in Salt Lake City. (Photo by Jack Gambassi | The Daily Utah Chronicle)

By Austin Eames, Sports Writer


This past weekend, the University of Utah swim and dive team competed against the BYU Cougars in their last home meet of the 2022-23 season. The Utes showed out in a competition highlighted by the sheer dominance of the women’s swimming team, who put together a dominant 226-74 victory en route to a combined dual meet score of 389-211.

Rivalry week brought out the best in the Ute faithful, as the Natatorium was packed with fans throughout the weekend. Moreover, these fans had the opportunity to bear witness to multiple program and personal records throughout the meet. 

The competition began with men’s and women’s diving on Friday, Jan. 28. The weekend had no slow start as freshman diver Elias Petersen set a new school record in the 1m. Additionally, Holly Waxman began the women’s competition with a bang, delighting fans with the second-highest score in Utah history in the 3m (348.90).

Petersen’s record-breaking 1m score of 394.05 surpassed the previous mark for a Ute diver, set in 2014 by Jacob Crayne who scored 391.10. Additionally, the dive gave Petersen the win in the event and counted as an NCAA Championships qualifying score to hopefully advance the diver’s season. 

“It’s a lot of fun to have this diving-only, nighttime, finals-feel atmosphere,” said diving coach Richard Marschner in response to Friday’s diving-only start to the competition. “It gets us ready for the Pac-12 Championships where we’re making finals and that intensity and excitement. Being able to deal with that energy positively was very nice. It was fun because both teams brought out the best in each other.” 

On Saturday, Jan. 29, the dual meet continued, this time with the addition of the men’s and women’s swimming events.

On the women’s side of the competition, command was established early, as the Utes occupied the top three spots in seven of the meet’s 16 events. More closely, key race wins from sophomore Norah Hay and senior Summer Stanfield propelled the team to a runaway victory.

Stanfield didn’t skip a beat, winning three individual events for the second meet in a row. The swimmer’s first win came in the 200 free with a time of 1:52.03, the second in the 100 butterfly with a time of 56.12, and a final victory in the 200 individual medley with a time of 2:03.74. 

Notably, Stanfield’s three wins this week were all improvements on the times that won her three individual races last week against the Washington State Cougars. 

Hay was another key contributor for the Utes that collected multiple race wins. The Texas native’s first win came in the 100 backstroke, where a winning time of 55.99 cemented her status as the only swimmer to finish under the 57-second mark. Hay’s second victory came in another backstroke event, the 200 backstroke, where the swimmer was the only competitor to break two minutes, ending with a final time of 1:59.40.

On the men’s side of the competition, the homegrown phenom out of Salt Lake City, Evan VanBrocklin, led the way with his own triple crown of victories. VanBrocklin first found success in the 200 fly where he finished with a time of 1:48.65. The swimmer also showed out in one of the meet’s toughest distance events, the 500 free, where he finished first with a time of 4:33.65. VanBrocklin concluded his winning ways in the 200 individual medley where he swam a time of 1:51.21.

The men’s team also found success from swimmers Marko Kovacic, Andrei Ungur, Finn O’Haimhirgin and Jaek Horner. Kovacic, a junior from Bosnia and Herzegovina, grabbed the Utes their first individual win in the 200 free with a time of 1:38.82. Ungur won the meet’s 100 back event with a time of 48.95. Finn O’Haimhirgin claimed the title in the 100 free, narrowly edging out the competition with a time of 45.94. Finally, Horner’s 2:03.49 in the 200 breaststroke led the field and claimed the Utes another key individual race victory.

The men ended up winning their competition against BYU with a score of 163-137, contributing to the overall meet win of 389-211. 

“It feels really good [to get this win],” said head coach Jonas Persson. “On the women’s side, we had a lot of strong races. The girls stepped up really well and had some great momentum. The men’s side was a lot tougher. It was one race at a time, one event at a time. We had some bad luck, we had some good luck and, in the end, we had more luck and better swims than they did.”

Regarding the diving side of the completion of Saturday, all eyes were on the men’s 3m. Luke McDivitt challenged his competition down to the last set of dives, eventually pulling out in the clutch with a final score of 386.75. His score was the highest 3m-point total of the season for the Utes and gave him a 14-point final lead over the next nearest competitor. 

Regarding his diver’s clutch victory, dive coach Richard Marschner said, “That was one of the most exciting meets I’ve been part of … Nobody backed down and to have a person like Luke come through in such a big way is why you coach. You love to see that happen to a person like Luke.”

Looking ahead, the Utah diving team will travel to Colorado Springs to compete in the Air Force Invitational. Additionally, the men’s swimming team will take a trip to southern California to take on USC on Feb. 10. 


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