BYU’s swim and dive team experienced a tough loss Friday night to the University of Utah where both the Cougar men’s and women’s teams were unable to pull away with the Deseret First Duel title.
The competition, held at the Richards Building pool, ended with the men’s team falling to Utah 172-128 and the women’s falling 175-125. Though the defeat was disappointing for the Cougars, both teams experienced many successes.
Senior swimmer Hailey Campbell stole the show in the women’s events, coming in first in both the 100 and 200-yard backstroke as well as participating in two relays that took first place.
Sophomore Chad Sorensen had a great night with two solo wins for the men’s 100 and 200 breaststroke.
Junior Hayden Palmer showcased his versatility by placing in the top three in three different categories: the 1000 freestyle, the 200 breaststroke and the 400 individual medley.
Head coach John Brooks was pleased with the efforts of the team and this meet on senior was especially poignant for him because of his unique relationship with those athletes.
“I helped recruit every senior that is here so I have gotten to know some of them very well before they came to BYU,” Brooks said. “I am sad to see them go and we hope that they continue to be good legacies for us.
While players like Campbell, Sorenson and Palmer had great finishes, they understood Ws and Ls are both taken as a team.
“I’m not only swimming for myself, but I’m swimming for them and they for me,” Palmer said. “Even if I won every single event that I swam, we would have still lost this meet.”
Friday night was senior night and was full of emotion for not only the athletes and coaches, but also for the families of the athletes. Campbell had several members of her family there to cheer her on, even a few donned in Utah red.
“We didn’t realize we’d get her into swimming,” said Sheila Campbell, Hailey’s mother and a swimmer herself. “She’s always been part of a team somewhere.”
Campbell’s uncle, Dennis Bell, was also a swimmer and played water polo for Utah, but sported BYU blue on Friday night to support his niece for senior night. Hailey’s family is from the Minneapolis area, which is where the 2014 Women’s NCAA Championship will be held.
“If I go it’s going to be fantastic,” Campbell said. “I’d be finishing my swimming career in the pool that basically started it all for me.
Before any NCAA Championship hopes can be fulfilled, the Cougar dive team will venture to Colorado Springs, Colo. for the Air Force Invite next weekend.