BYU swim and dive drowns to Utah in competitive weekend meet

The Holy War became the Holy Water this weekend as the BYU and University of Utah rivalry extended to swim and dive during the Air Force Invite. Both humidity and tension could be felt in the Ute Natatorium as both the men’s and women’s teams faced off.

The meet consisted of 34 total events, and both BYU teams fell to the Utes. This was the first season loss for the men’s team, giving Utah close competition with a final score of 163 to 137. The women are now 2-3 and fell short with 74 points to Utah’s 226.

Despite the losses, Saturday morning’s swim events brought some admirable top finishes for BYU. The Cougars flooded the scoreboard in the 50-yard freestyle, with Brigham Harrison placing first at 20.72 seconds, Javier Nicolas at second with 20.82, and Abraham Zimmerman in fifth at 21.24.

Nicolas also had a successful morning in the 100-yard butterfly, where he finished first with a 47.65. Senior Brad Prolo placed second in the event at 49.40, and would go on to place second in the 200-yard butterfly at 1:50.35.

Fellow senior Tony Puertas swam in right behind his teammate, finishing fourth in the 100-yard butterfly at 50.50, and third in the 200-yard butterfly with a 1:53.42.

The scoreboard remained blue for the 100-yard breaststroke. Sophomore Evan VanderSluis finished first at 56.11, with William Bonnett (56.14) and Emerson Edwards (57.16) posted at second and fourth, respectively. VanderSluis grabbed another third place win in the 200-yard breaststroke with a 2:05:09 finish. Freshman Maxton Cannon was right in front of him with a 2:04.81 for a second-place win.

The water looked even bluer with other notable Cougar wins from the men. Sophomore Diego Camacho Salgado grabbed first place in the 200-yard backstroke at 1:49.90, after finishing second in the 100-yard backstroke earlier that morning. Abe Barragan was only 2.12 seconds behind Utah’s Marko Kovacic to finish second in the 200-yard freestyle. Darwin Anderson grabbed one of BYU’s only first place finishes with a 16:02.99 in the 1650-yard freestyle.  

Both swim and dive coaches left the weekend noting improvements to focus on, but also the drive that the swimmers presented against the U.

“I love the experience our newest [teammates] gained from a high intensity and loud meet format at Utah,” diving coach Tyce Rouston recalled. “We had some great head-to-head battles against Utah, just falling slightly short and giving up a few key points. But the drive to overcome and sharpen those tiny details will be engrained in them.”

Despite the brutal scoreboard for the women’s team in the match overall, there were some notable performances in the swim events.

The women went 1-2-3 in the 500-yard freestyle, with Regan Geldmacher, Megan Bergstrom, and Victoria Schreiber on the podium. Geldmacher also grabbed a fourth place win in the 1650-yard event at 17:41.55.

Daniela Flores-Bautista swam a 2:07.65 in the 200-yard butterfly for a second-place finish, and teammate Elle Decker was right behind her in third place with a 2:08.26.

Lily Flint, Julia Bartell, Emma Marusakova, and Halli Williams worked together to finish second in the 200-freestyle relay with a 1:36.54. Marusavoka also grabbed a second place win in the 100-yard backstroke, recording a 57.01.

Swim Coach Shari Skabebund is satisfied with the results of the weekend. “Our women’s swim/dive squad was down 7 athletes as we have had adversity with injuries and illness,” said Skabelund. “It was the best line-up we had for the healthy athletes who competed.”

Coach Rouston is enthusiastic about his top divers, Alexia Jackson and Mickey Strauss. “Alexia Jackson was a bulldog and went toe to toe with an experienced diver with bigger dives,” Rouston commented. “Mickey Strauss has been putting up high scores consecutively but will need to work on technique and form so that he can earn the judges’ higher marks against a tougher field of competitors.”

Jackson posted a 269.85 in the 1-meter dive, and finished with the highest score of the women’s team both days of the meet. Strauss took second in the 3-meter dive at 372.10, just behind Utah’s Luke McDivitt’s 386.75.

“We were competitive and loved the racing that went on,” Skabelund spoke overall of the weekend. “The divers had solid performances as well. We look forward to resting and preparing for our last conference meet.”

The Cougars will soon jump back into the deep end of competition, with Dive heading to the Diving Air Force Invite this week. The swim team has a few weeks to prepare before the MPSF Championships begins on February 15.

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