Utah Diving Efforts Highlight 2023 Pac-12 Diving and Women’s Swimming Championships


Jack Gambassi

University of Utah swimmers racing 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


After over half a year of hard work, dedication and countless hours in the pool, the University of Utah’s diving and women’s swimming team had their final conference meet of the season at the 2023 Pac-12 Championships. Competition for the championship began Wednesday, Feb. 22, at Weyerhaeuser King County Aquatic Center in Federal Way, Washington, and continued through Saturday, Feb. 25.

In the pool and on the boards, the competition was fierce at this year’s Pac-12 finale. Nevertheless, the Utes saw a variety of success at this year’s conference finale, especially from the likes of the Utes’ diving team, who placed well in several events. 

Day 1

On day one of the meet, Elias Petersen, the freshman standout from Sweden, was the first to grant the Utes a championship medal with his victory in the men’s 1m dive. 

Petersen’s path to the podium began with a fourth-place finish in the event’s preliminary round. Sitting almost 20 points away from third-place before the final round, Petersen had one of the event’s largest margins of score improvement with a 337.95-point final that boosted the diver firmly into third-place overall. Additionally, Petersen was the only Utah diver to make the event’s final; Luke McDivitt narrowly missed, finishing 10th overall, Jenner Pennock ended in 16th, and Jake Suchowski, the Utes’ final diver of the event, in 20th. 

The day also consisted of the men’s and women’s diving team events where the Utes managed to place second in each. On the men’s side, the team of McDivitt, Petersen and Pennock trailed only Stanford, finishing with a final score of 324.10 points. On the women’s side of team diving, Kathryn Grant, Lizzy DeCecco and Holly Waxman put together a score of 310.70 points to beat both Stanford and UCLA.

The meet started out shaky for the women’s swimming team, as only one of the Utes’ three teams competing in the 200 medley relay managed to finish the race. Although the Utes had two teams DNF in the event, Norah Hay, Alyssa Sorensen, Kate Leary and Erin Palmer managed to complete the race in 1:41.84. 

Day 2

On day two of the meet, the women’s diving team began their weekend by adding to the Utes’ overall medal count. Waxman was the diver to add to this total, snagging a bronze medal in the women’s 1m dive. 

Waxman’s final score of 311.15 was not only good enough for third-place, but also came dangerously close to cementing her name in the record book for the Utes’ best score in the event. Her total was only slightly less than the 312.22 points scored in the event by Kelsey Patterson in 2006. Still, Waxman’s dive claimed the Utes second-best all-time score in the event.

In addition to Waxman’s third-place finish, Petersen also continued his winning ways with another bronze medal, his second of the weekend. Petersen’s second podium finish came in the men’s 3m, where McDivitt also made the eight-diver final round. 

The final round of the men’s 3m was one for the books as four different divers scored over 400 points. For the Utah men, Petersen claimed his third-place finish with a personal-best score of 423.25, while McDivitt finished sixth with a score of 366.60. 

The women’s swim team had a far better showing on the meet’s second day. The team saw multiple top-10 program swims, as well as a few personal best races in individual events. 

Notably, Summer Stanfield finished 15th overall in the women’s 200 IM with a time of 1:59.05. Stanfield’s sub-two-minute swim saw her move from sixth all-time, a record she previously set with a time of 2:00.35 almost exactly one year ago, to the third-fastest swim all-time by a Ute in the event. 

Day 3

Friday, Feb. 24, the third day of this year’s meet, highlighted the continuation of an interesting trend for the Utah team. For the third day in a row, the Utah team collected a bronze medal in an individual event. Day three was more similar to the latter, as Utah divers managed two individual bronze medal finishes. 

McDivitt struck first with a 350.40-point final in the men’s platform. His score was enough to claim the first of two Ute bronze medals on the day, and also add to his collegiate medal count after the diver’s monster 400.75 first-place score in the 2021 Pac-12 Championships. McDivitt was not the only Ute diver to make the final in the event, as Pennock finished eighth overall with a final point total of 272.45. 

“The men finished their meet with a great platform event,” head coach Richard Marschner told Utah Athletics. “We once again put two up in the A final with Jenner and Luke. Luke put together a strong list in finals to get back on the podium for tower and he looked really steady throughout.” 

After a third-place finish in the women’s 1m final a day before, Waxman added another accolade to her collection with an additional bronze medal in the women’s 3m final. After narrowly making the final round with a score of 287.10, Waxman exploded with a 322.65-point final effort on a reverse 2.5 dive to rise to third-place overall. Her 35.55-point improvement on a preliminary round score was one of the largest jumps in the event and came at an extremely crucial time. 

Moreover, coming into the final round of the women’s 3m final, Grant sat atop Waxman in the rankings with a prelim score of 288.50. However, in the end, Grant finished in a very respectable seventh-place with a final score of 284.25. 

On the swim side of the competition, multiple Utah athletes swam their way into the Utah record book. In the 100-backstroke, Hay and Katie Hale put together times that placed them sixth and ninth all-time in the event for the Utes, respectively. 

Anelise Hedges was the fastest Ute in the 100-breaststroke, as her 1:01.80 final placed third in the C-final (19th overall) and was good enough for sixth-all-time in the event for the Utes.

As day three of the meet concluded, the Utah team found themselves in seventh place overall in the meet’s total team standings, trailing the University of Arizona by a little under 100 team points. 

Day 4

The meet’s final day of competition did not bring about any more medals but did host a handful of personal best swim times, and many reasons to be excited about the team’s future. 

Cameron Daniell was one Ute swimmer that achieved a personal best on the day with a 16:41.68 time in the women’s 1650-yard freestyle. Only about 100 yards short of a mile, the 1650 is one of swimming’s most grueling events. Despite this reality, Daniell finished with the class in 12th place overall. 

Hedges also scored a personal best time. The swimmer’s 2:13.30 second swim in the 200 breaststroke was good enough for the sixth fastest time in school history. Crazily enough, the record came one day after Hedges claimed the sixth spot in the Utah record book for the women’s 100 breaststroke. 

“The final day of the meet is always an emotional one,” associate head swim coach Michele Lowry told Utah Athletics. “We are so thankful for everything our seniors have done for this program. They continued to lead the way through their last races. Leaving Federal Way with a lot of great memories and a bit of a chip on our shoulder to be better than ever in 2024. Go Utes!” 

The final day of the meet for the women’s diving team was highlighted by a fourth-place finish from Waxman in the women’s platform. Waxman scored 80 points for Utah with two third-place finishes and a fourth-place finish. Her total was the most points ever scored by a Ute at a conference championship. 

“We capped off one of the most successful Pac-12 meets we’ve ever had with an amazing platform event,” said Marschner in response to his team’s final day at the Pac-12 Championships. 

Fans don’t have to wait very long for competition to continue as the men’s swimming championships begin Wednesday, March 1, at the Weyerhaeuser King County Aquatic Center.


[email protected]