BYU swim and dive kicks off season with Blue vs. White exhibition

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Elliott Miller
BYU swimmer Hayden Palmer swims the second length of his 200 yard individual medley. Palmer is a senior heading into the 2015 season. (Elliot Miller)

The BYU swimming and diving team kicked the season off with the traditional Blue vs. White meet Saturday morning.

White team won 248 – 218 in a close meet.

“The Blue and White meet is the climax of all of the week’s activities,” head coach John Brooks said on Thursday. “We have something going on everyday that the teams have to fight for, and the meet just gives us a good chance to see where everyone is at for the season.

The athletes were distinguished by the swim cap they wore. Friends, fans and family came out and showed the team their support before the Cougars head to Colorado Mesa on Oct. 9 to begin the competition season.

The Cougars are not without weapons heading into the season. The roster includes three swimmers who qualified for the Olympic trials: senior Jake Taylor, freshman Ellie Thornbrue and freshman Connor Stirling.

Taylor, who was on the White team at the meet, earned First Team All-America honors for both the 100-meter and 200-meter backstroke. He qualified for the Olympic trials last year in the 100-meter backstroke. He also qualified for the 200-meter backstroke during the 2015 national championships. Taylor showed diversity at the meet on Saturday by winning the 100-meter breaststroke posting a 57.60.

Thornbrue, who was on the White team on Saturday, also shined during the meet. She qualified for the Olympic trials in the 100-meter butterfly before attending BYU. She posted a time of 1:01.13 at qualifications. During the Blue vs. White meet, she won the 100-meter butterfly and posted a time of 57.61. Thornbrue showed speed and endurance during the 200-meter butterfly event and won the event with a 2:10.37 time.

Stirling, who was on the Blue team, was a top recruit who turned down the University of Arizona, a top tier program, for BYU. He entered the meet having qualified previously for the 50-meter freestyle, but was edged out during by sophomore Payton Sorenson who posted a 20.72. Stirling redeemed himself and secured a solid win in the 100-meter freestyle.

The men’s team has won two Mountain Pacific Sports Federation titles and will look to take home its third. The women’s team finished fourth in the 2014 season and will look to improve this year.

 

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