Nov. 20, 2009
LONG BEACH, Calif. - The Utah swimming and diving team continued to have the best times of their season this weekend at the Toshiba Classic. The Utes qualified swimmers in all events on the day, having two athletes finish in the top ten.
"We have seen some great swims today. The team continues to make a lot of improvements," said head coach Greg Winslow. "They are taking the mentality that they have to go out and get it. We're really excited about that."
The Utes had three men qualify for the finals in two events on the second day of competition. Sophomores Eric Bonicelli (Overland Park, Kan.) and Eric Murray (Woodstock, GA) along with senior David Pursley (Edmonton, Canada) qualified for the 400 IM final heat, finishing 13th (4:04.64), 14th (4:05.34) and 15th (4:09.38), respectively. All times were season highs for the men.
In the 100 breast, senior John Baque (Olympia, Wash.) was 13th overall with a time of 57.36. Freshman Karson Applin (Houston, Texas) finished 15th in 57.52 and senior Garrett Peterson (Las Vegas, Nev.) was 20th in 58.56.
Applin also had the highest finish for the Utes so far this weekend, finishing eighth in the 100 fly in 50.14. Applin's finish was also the highest for a Mountain West Conference athlete in the event.
Freshman Bryan Michaels (Shoreline, Wash.) and Murray finished 24th and 32nd, respectively, in the 200 free with times of 1:43.21 and 1:44.98. Sophomore Major Robinson (Missoula, Mont.) had the second-highest finish for the Utah men, finishing 11th overall in the 100 back with his time of 52.10. Freshman Austin Fiascone (Hinsdale, Ill.) also was in the finals in the 100 back, finishing 26th with a time of 54.10.
The Ute relay teams both finished in seventh on the day. The 200 medley relay team of Robinson, Baque, Applin and Bjorn Gunnarsson (Norrkoping, Sweden) finished in 1:34.42 and the 800 free relay team of Michaels, Pursley, Ryan Hansen (Schroeder, Wis.) and Bonicelli finished in 6:55.80.
"Having three guys in the finals heat is awesome for the men," said Winslow. "It is fun to see those guys get up and take pride in their race."
The Utah women also had three women qualify for the final heat in the 400 IM. Junior Maiya Otsuka (Littleton, Colo.) had the highest finish for the Utes in 17th with a time of 4:27.87. Behind her was freshman Kayla Buck (Folsom, Calif.) in 23rd with a time of 4:34.70 and senior Kristina Helmers (Pennington, N.J.) was 26th with a time of 4:32.95.
"Kayla Buck got a great 400 IM today," said Winslow. "Her time was in the Utah all-time top 10"
The highest individual placer for the woman was sophomore Hannah Caron (Raleigh, N.C.). Caron finished the 100 fly in 54.94, placing higher than any other MWC athlete, and finishing ninth overall.
The Utah 800 free relay team of Caron, Natalie Edge (South Jordan, Utah), Kristina Evans (Salt Lake City, Utah) and Annie VanLeeuwen (West Valley City, Utah) finished sixth overall with a time 7:33.05. VanLeeuwen also finished 18th in the 100 breast with a time of 1:05.42.
Edge also had a individual finish in the 200 free, getting a time of 1:53.52, putting her in 26th place overall. Senior Beth Gunderson (Portland, Ore.) was the final individual finisher for the Utes, getting 30th in the 100 back with her time of 58.46.
The 200 medley relay team of Gunderson, VanLeeuwen, Caron and Evans had 10th-place finish with their time of 1:46.28.
"All in all, it was a really good day," said Winslow. "I'm excited to see how we put the whole season together."
The Toshiba Classic continues tomorrow in Long Beach, Calif. at the Belmont Plaza Olympic pool.
"The team is fired up about this last day," said Winslow. "We're pleased with the results and we're excited to see what tomorrow brings."