BYU Swimmers Sweep Utah in First Meet of the Season

SALT LAKE CITY -- The BYU men's and women's swimming and diving teams opened the season with a sweep of in-state and conference rival the University of Utah Friday night in Salt Lake City.

The men won eight of 13 events to beat the Ute squad 150-93, while the women recorded wins in nine of 13 events to win by a convincing 148-88 margin.

Junior and 1999 WAC Swimmer of the Year Arunas Savickas led the way for the Cougars, winning the 100 and 200 freestyle and helping the 400 medley relay team to a first place finish. Freshman Gary Tan, just 17, dominated as well in his first meet as a Cougar, placing first in the 200 backstroke and second in the 200 IM as well as swimming on the winning 400 medley relay team with Savickas.

"We swam a good meet," BYU men's coach Tim Powers said. "The guys stepped up and did the job. We weren't spectacularly fast, but we weren't slow either.'

The Cougar men finished 1-2-3 in the 200 freestyle, with Savickas, Alex Denke and freshman Kenny Carpenter leading in that event.

"That put the nails in the coffin," Powers said.

The women were on fire in their first meet, placing 1-2 finishes in six of 13 events. Senior distance freestyler Kirsten Mason had two wins for the Cougars, in the 500 and 1000 free. Hanalee Hawkins, Mary Duffin, Tina Thompson and Valynn Woolley all chalked up first-place individual finishes for the Cougars as well.

"We swam pretty well, all in all," BYU women's coach Stan Crump said.

On the other end of the pool, divers Viraj Patil and Aaron Russell finished 1-2 on the 3M board, while Rachelle Smith and Anna Tutunnikova did the same for the women.

Both squads will travel to Las Vegas next week for a dual meet against UNLV Friday.