Herrick earns Utah's first Pac-12 Diver of the Month award.
April 17, 2013
The University of Utah men’s swimming and diving team is gaining momentum after just its second year as a part of the Pac-12 Conference. The transition into the fastest conference in the nation has had its tumultuous moments for Utah, but it is apparent that the Utes are adjusting well.
The Utah men’s team is composed of just six upperclassmen out of a 25-man squad. With this haul of young talent, the Utes recorded several school records and reached impressive athletic landmarks this season.
The Utah men came out of the gate quickly with back-to-back wins against UC Santa Barbara and University of Calgary to begin the season, before falling to UNLV in early November.
In mid-November, freshman Bence Kira’ly broke Shawn Rowland’s 25-year-old 500 free school record (4:23.22) at the Purdue Invitational to boost the Utes to a third-place finish.
Up next was the annual Desert First Dual against BYU, where the Utes edged by the Cougars in Ute Natatorium by a final score of 156-144.
The Ute men rounded up their first Pac-12 victory of the season with a win over Arizona State in Tempe, where sophomore Nick Soedel earned CollegeSwimming.com Swimmer of the Week after sweeping the sprint freestyle events.
Caleb Herrick earned Utah’s first-ever Pac-12 Diver of the Month award for his top performances on the boards against BYU and ASU in December.
The Utes continued on to win their third-straight dual meet as they topped Air Force in Colorado to kick off the new year.
The Utah men took on USC at home to finish off the regular season, where they were ultimately bested by the No. 4 Trojans.
At the Pac-12 Championships in Federal Way, Wash., the Utes showcased their young talent. Soedel led the team as he recorded three individual school records, two of which came during relay events. He led off the 800 free relay with a time of 1:35.80 and the 400 free relay in 42.83 seconds, while also recording a new Utah school record in the 50 free (19.62).
Kron grabbed three individual Utah records himself with top times in the 200 IM (1:46.16), 400 IM (3:48.01) and 200 back (1:42.96).
The Utah divers continued their season at the NCAA Zone Diving Championships in Colorado Springs at Cadet Natatorium.
Freshman Josiah Purss headed the Ute effort with a fourth place on 1-meter, eighth on 3-meter and fourth on the platform where he tallied a Utah school record 676.80 points. His fourth-place platform finish was the highest-ever platform placement for a Ute at a zone championship meet.
With a successful post season already underway, the Utes again looked to their underclassmen to continue the trend into the NCAA Championships. Soedel, Kron and Purss each qualified for the national meet in Indianapolis. This was the first time in over 20 years that three Utes qualified for NCAAs and only the second time in school history that a male diver made the cut.
The three student-athletes far exceeded expectation and for the first time since 1975, two Utes gained All-American status. Soedel was awarded Honorable Mention All-American in the 50 and 100 freestyle events, while Purss was named an All-American in the 1-meter dive.
Both topped this landmark in day one of the championships as Soedel placed 12th in the 50 free with a 19.71 finals time, as Purss took 16th in the 1-meter dive with 297.90 points.
Kron’s highest placing came in the final day of competition, as he placed 27th in the 200 back.
The Utes completed their 2013 NCAA campaign with 11 points to place 33rd in the country.
Four Utes were recognized by the Pac-12 for their academic contribution. Herrick and Gunnarsson were named to the Pac-12 All-Academic Second Team, while Graham Charlton and Brandon Stoppelmoor earned Honorable Mention status.