Women take down Denver, men fall

S-Swimming Colby Patterson
Ashlyn Karosas swims the fly leg in the 200-yard medley relay at the Ute Natatorium. Photo by Chris Ayers.

Ashlyn Karosas swims the fly leg in the 200-yard medley relay at the Ute Natatorium. Photo by Chris Ayers.

The Utah swim and dive team went up against a blazing Denver team last weekend that is already into its rest phase as it prepares for its conference meet.

The Ute women came out with a closely contested victory, 152-148, while the men fell to the Pioneers 174-126.

The meet, which was in Denver, was difficult for some Utes because they had to travel the same day they were swimming.

“It was a bit of a mixed bag,” said Utah head coach Joe Dykstra. “We had a number of athletes who did really well and a number of others that struggled.”

The loss was the men’s first of the year. The team has been consistently training hard for quite some time now with efforts building toward the Pac-12 Championships next month, and the group displayed some fatigue against the Pioneers.

Dykstra continues to stress to his team the importance of focusing on the end result. He knows that while these dual meets are good for swimmers, they shouldn’t lose sight of the main goal
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“The training plan is designed around the Championships,” he said.

Even with the loss, there were still standouts on the men’s side for the Utes. Jonah Holmstrom took the 200-yard freestyle and was a member of the 200-freestyle relay team that took first.

Nick Soedel continued his rampage through the water, once again setting two pool records on his way to breaking the 20-second barrier for the second meet in a row in the 50-yard freestyle. He won both the 50- and 100-yard freestyle events.

“He’s been very consistent in how well he has trained and in his approach,” Dykstra said. “He had breakthroughs last year which he carried into this past summer, and he carried it into this season.”

On the women’s side, the 1,000-yard freestyle went to Sami Zuch. Brianna Francis came away with three victories, the 100- and 200-yard breaststroke as well as the 200-yard individual medley.

“These were big-time swims for [Francis],” Dykstra said.

Petra Soininen won the 100-yard butterfly and came in second in the 100-yard butterfly. Traycie Swartz came away with the 50-yard freestyle with a time of 23.56.

In addition to the swim team, the dive squad put together a great weekend. Jacob Crayne had a huge day, as he won both the 1-meter dive and the platform dive. Josiah Purss took third in the 1-meter dive, and Kersten Merry took second on the platform dive and third in the three-meter dive.

Dykstra stressed how talented the Denver team was, noting that the Pioneers have also defeated BYU and are closing in on their conference championships in the upcoming weeks.

“That was the best dual meet that Denver has put up in a long time,” he said. “I didn’t know Denver was going to be that good. We did very well for where we were in training, but we ran into a buzzsaw that was Denver.”

Next up for the Utes is the women’s Senior Day this Saturday against Washington State. The men will have a short break away from their meet schedule, as they do not return to action until Feb. 22 against USC.

i.smith@chronicle.utah.edu