The Ute Natatorium will host the Utes' final dual meet of the season against BYU on Friday.
Feb. 1, 2011
The University of Utah swimming and diving team will host BYU on Friday, Feb. 4. The meet will begin at 6 p.m. at Ute Natatorium. This will be the Utes' final dual meet of the season before the Mountain West Conference Championships take place Feb. 23 to 26.
Last Saturday, the University of Utah swimming and diving team traveled to Las Vegas to take on the UNLV Rebels. The Ute women emerged with the win (159 to 141) but the men failed to overcome the Rebels (179.5 to 111.5).
Samantha Zuch and Hannah Caron "stole the show," according to head coach Greg Winslow, by winning each of their respective events. Zuch won the 200 free (1:51.90), the 100 breast (1:05.92), and the 500 free (5:00.64) while Caron posted season-best times to win the 100 fly (54.48) and the 200 fly (2:01.77) while also participating in the winning 400 free relay (3:24.29) alongside Natalie Edge, Kristina Evans, and Traycie Swartz. Swartz, Edge, Zuch and Caron all swam in the winning 200 medley relay together (1:42.96).
Swartz also touched in the schools second-fastest time ever in the 100 back (55.93), only microseconds behind the record-breaking time she posted the week before against Wyoming.
QUOTING HEAD COACH Greg Winslow
"The rivalry is a lot of fun. It's unlike anything I've ever seen in college swimming as far as the passion behind it goes. The whole school gets excited about it. You don't have to do much to pump up the kids because they are already excited for it. I'm honored to be a part of it and looking forward to this meet.
"It will be close on both sides. Their women's team is the dynasty. They have won six conference titles in a row or something crazy like that. They have been undefeated for the past couple of years, but this season they lost only one meet and that was to San Diego State.
"You'd have to say that we're the underdogs going in. We'd like our girls to get up and swim as well as they can. Obviously, our goal is to swim better and better from here on out. It should be an exciting meet.
"This is our last chance to really fine-tune race plans. It's a great one for us because the kids are equally nervous and excited for it. You don't get to do that a whole lot. Sometimes they feel like, `Oh, here we go again. We're swimming again for the 20th time this year.' But when we swim against the team down south, it doesn't feel that way.
"Hopefully our fans come out in droves and pack the house. The last time we had them up here, there was standing room only. It's a unique and exciting experience."
The Utah freshmen and sophomores last got a taste of the BYU rivalry in the annual Freshman-Sophomore exhibition meet on Oct. 8. The Utes won nine out of the 22 unofficially scored events.
The last time the whole Utah swimming squad faced BYU was last February where the Ute men broke BYU's five-year winning streak (162 to 138) while the Ute women fell to the Cougars (218 to 82).
SCOUTING THE OPPOSITION
Last season, the BYU women's swimming team earned their fourth consecutive conference title and the ninth in the past 11 years, going undefeated all season. This season for the Cougar women has shaped up similarly with the Cougars losing only one meet to San Diego State.
Sara Jayne Baldwin and Taryn Toolson, both 2009-10 all-MWC swimmers, lead the women in distance freestyle while Aleesha Miller leads them in the freestyle sprints. Baldwin is ranked third in the conference in breaststroke as well. Candice Smith is a conference record holder in the 100 and 200 backstroke. In butterfly events, Rachel Grant earned the championship title in the 200 fly last season and qualified for Nationals. On the diving boards, Dayna Christensen competed at the 2010 AT&T National Diving Championships and earned fifth place at the 2010 MWCC in the platform dive.
At the beginning of the 2010-11 season, the BYU men were selected to finish second in the conference by MWC coaches. Christen Keil is the top-ranked freestyle sprinter at BYU, while all-conference swimmer John Kendrick leads the distance events. Breaststroke events will be covered by Vytenis Slenys, another all-conference swimmer, and All-Americans Steven Richards, Chad Sorenson, and Nathan Henderson. Ryan Krause will be one of the top competitors in the butterfly events after being the California Community College Athletic Association state champion in the 100-yard butterfly.