BYU men’s swim and dive top Utah

BYU’s recent swim meet against the University of Utah began, as expected, with rivalry emotion.

The PA announcer at the Richards Building pool had to stop in the middle of his introduction of the team staff. The BYU swim and dive team had inadvertently drowned his voice out in their team chants. 

Resolutely, the announcer began again to describe the University of Utah’s coach to the packed stands when a “Let’s go Utah” chant stopped him in his tracks a second time.

The Richards Building was ready and roaring for the BYU versus Utah swim and dive meet Feb. 9 and 10, as the BYU men pulled off a resounding 181-113 victory over their rival Utah.

Last year’s loss was a tough pill to swallow for the team. When asked about the message before the meet senior Tony Puertas said, “This year it was about leaving everything in the pool. It doesn’t matter if you’re third, fourth, or fifth. You’re beating the Utah guy next to you.”

The message seemed to work. The Cougars started Friday night out by breaking the pool record in the men’s 200 M relay at 1:25.79 by 1.27 seconds.

From the start, Tanner Edwards gave the team the lead in the backstroke with senior Brad Prolo built upon it in the breaststroke to the delight of his supporters brandishing cut-outs of his face in the stands. 

Jordan Tiffany then butterflied to put a full body length between him and the other teams, leading Luigi Riva to finish first in his freestyle and give a bow to the Utes.

Despite the fast start, the Utes responded with their own record from Tom Chocolaty in the 1650 free. The momentum continued through the meet as both men’s teams totaled for ten pool records broken.

In the end BYU triumphed with Tiffany and Prolo leading BYU with 18 and 22 points respectively. Tiffany broke his own pool records in the 200 IM and 100 fly, while Prolo broke his own records in the 200 fly and 200 breast.

The Cougars improved their times, but were just happiest about the win. “The one simple goal was to beat Utah. Me and Emerson are captains of the team and we made that clear from day one,” Tiffany said. “That’s what we’re gonna do. We are gonna beat Utah. Didn’t care too much about the times. Didn’t care too much about how we did it.”

“It’s been a tradition that we race them before conference. It’s always been good because there’s lots of fans, and the stands are full and there is good energy,” said BYU head coach Shari Skabelund. “It’s been a long time since we’ve even been competitive with our men. We’ve been trounced by Utah too many times, so we just figured that we were gonna focus in on winning this meet doing what we had to do, and we showed up. Utah swam amazing as they always do. They have great coaches, and they make us better. So we love the rivalry.”

The team jumped together into the pool in celebration after the meet with chest bumps and high-fives galore.

BYU swim and dive now prepares for the Big 12 conference meet coming up on March 2 in Morgantown, West Virginia.

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