Josiah Purss swept the boards to contribute to the Utes' win.
Oct. 19, 2013
SALT LAKE CITY - It all came down to the final race, the 400 free relay. Trailing by five points, Utah men's swimming and diving needed to claim the first and third places to move past swimming and diving powerhouse Arizona, to claim a victory. Under pressure, the Utes responded and did just that to top the Wildcats 152-148 at Ute Natatorium. The Utah women's squad was ultimately topped 204-96.
"I feel proud more than anything," said Utah head coach Joe Dykstra. "I'm really proud of the work that the swimmers and divers have put in over the last two months of the season. I think they started to believe how good they could be if they trained at a higher level and we've been executing that and it came to a head today. I'm really proud of all the work they've put in and really proud of the coaching staff as well."
In the final event of the afternoon, Nick Soedel, Alex Fernandes, Jonas Holmstrom and Ken Tiltges teamed up to grab the 400 free victory (3:02.11), while Bence Kiraly, David Fraser, Karson Applin and Alex Brown claimed the number three spot (3:05.34). The 12 points in the event lifted the Utah men to the victory.
Sophomore Kiraly was at the head of the Utah men's effort as he collected wins in the 200 free (1:41.00) and the 500 free (4:35.42), while also placing second in the 200 fly (1:53.31).
Soedel touched in 20.20 in the 50 free to win the race by almost a full 1.5 seconds. Fernandes, narrowly missing the runner-up spot, touched in 21.49 to claim third. He also touched in second in the 100 fly (50.92). Soedel collected his second win of the afternoon in the 100 free with a time of 44.47.
Kristian Kron grabbed a wins in the 200 back (1:47.72) and the 200 IM (1:51.82), while also finishing second in the 100 back (50.56). Co-captain Tiltges contributed a second-place finish in the 100 breast (59.06).
Josiah Purss added to the Utes win with a sweep of the diving events, earning 325.35 points on the 3-meter and 362.93 points on the 1-meter.
For the women, senior co-captain Samantha Zuch earned the top spot in the 1000 free (10:24.38) and grabbed second in the 500 free (5:04.58).
Kersten Merry headed the Utah women's diving effort, collecting first on the 3-meter (279.60) and second on the 1-meter (276.90).
Giuliana Gigliotti also collected points for the Utes with a second-place finish in the 50 free (24.18).
Petra Soininen added to the Utes effort, collecting third in the 200 fly (2:04.02) and in the 100 fly (56.15).
"This win is going to change the perception of us nationally," said Dykstra. "Arizona's men's team got third at NCAA's last year and they're almost never out of the top five and to not just stand up and go toe-to-toe with them, but to really take it to them in that last relay at the end, it shows we've got a lot of character and we've got a lot of heart. I'll say as great as it is to win, we left a lot of points out there in the pool today. We can get a lot better. It's a great win. It's a program-defining win. It's probably the biggest upset in 20-25 years for this team, but we've got to get better still."
On Oct. 25 at Ute Natatorium at 3 p.m., the Utah women take on Boise State, while the Ute men will see Mesa State.