Andrei Ungur Leads Utah in NCAA Men’s Swimming and Diving Championships


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


Some of the most prolific members of the University of Utah men’s swimming and diving team traveled to Minneapolis, Minnesota from March 22-25 to compete in the NCAA Men’s Swimming and Diving Championships at the Jean K. Freeman Aquatic Center.

The University of Utah team traveled with four of its most accomplished athletes from the season. On the swimming side, Jaek Horner and Andrei Ungur achieved greatness and met the mark for this year’s championship. On the boards, freshman Elias Petersen and senior Luke McDivitt represented the Utes in the diving competition. 

No athlete had a better showing at this year’s championship meet than Ungur. The fifth-year from Baia Mare, Romania competed in his last-ever meet as a Ute and certainly didn’t hold anything back.

On day two of the meet, Ungur took to the pool to compete in the highly competitive men’s 50 freestyle race. After the dust had settled, Ungur placed 51st overall with a time of 19.98 seconds. This swim was slightly slower than a personal best time of 19.80 the swimmer had set earlier in the month during the Pac-12 Championship meet. 

Ungur’s most impressive feat of the championship came on day three of the meet when he achieved All-American status in the men’s 100 backstroke. 

The journey to this accomplishment began when Ungur swam a time of 45.05 seconds in the event’s preliminary round. This prelim time ousted his brother, Paul Ungur, as the holder of the quickest ever time by a Ute in the men’s 100 backstroke, and gave the younger Ungur the crown.

However, Andrei didn’t stop there. After already claiming the fastest time ever by a Ute in the preliminary round, the swimmer exploded for an even quicker time of 45 seconds flat in the event’s final. The official 45.00-second time granted Ungur fifth place overall and the highly sought-after status of a 2023 All-American in the event. 

Ungur finished his time as a Ute with one final swim on the last day of competition in the 200 backstroke. A 1:43.89 second swim gave Ungur 38th place in the event and closed the Utah swimming chapter of the athlete’s career. 

“Andrei got better every year,” head coach Jonas Persson told Utah Athletics. “He bought into our culture, he trained hard and consistently and that led him to having the success he did.”

Ungur wasn’t the only Ute competing in their final meet as a college athlete, as McDivitt also finished out his diving career with the Utes. 

On the second day of competition, McDivitt competed in the 1m dive and posted a final score of 258.55 to secure 49th overall in the event. On day three, McDivitt continued with a 295.55-point effort in the 3m, which gave the diver 46th overall. 

McDivitt’s last event as a Ute came on the last day of the 2023 championship. The diver posted a 310.35-point score in the platform final, which granted him his best finish of this year’s meet at 29th overall. As McDivitt broke the water during his final dive of the meet, he capped an amazing career as a Ute that includes two CSCAA All-American marks, becoming a three-time CSCAA Scholar All-American and a standing school record holder in the men’s platform.

Besides the two Utes competing in their last-ever event as school athletes, the team also had two other competitors at this year’s meet. 

The senior from Hawaii, Horner, had a strong championship that included a 54th overall placement in the 200 individual medley with a time of 1:46.45 seconds. Horner also placed 38th overall in the 100 breaststroke on day three of competition with a blazing quick time of 52.65. 

Horner had his best performance on the final day of the competition. He placed 35th overall with a time of 1:55.00 in the 200 breaststroke. 

The final Ute competing at this year’s NCAA championship was the sensational freshman Petersen. The diver from Malmo, Sweden capped off an amazing freshman campaign by making the NCAA championship in two events.

In his first event, Petersen managed the top Ute score in the 1m dive. He placed 35th overall with a final score of 310.65 points. Petersen’s second and final event of the meet came on day three of the competition. Competing in the 3m dive, Petersen put together a score of 303.20 to take 42nd overall in the event. 

“Elias closed out an incredible year,” said diving coach Richard Marschner. “And I’m really proud of everything he accomplished. It’s exceptionally difficult to come in mid-season and perform as well as he did. He gained the experience and recognition that we needed to get and his future with us is bright.”

As the youngest Ute competing in this year’s NCAA championship, Petersen defied all odds and has more than enough time to improve with the Utes during his future collegiate seasons. 

The Utes will return next season for the chance at even more program records, championship berths and conference meet victories. 


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