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BYU Comes Out Strong in Opener
PROVO, Utah – It's not often you can compete in Division I athletics against an opponent hundreds of miles away, but that's what the BYU swim and dive program did to open the 2020-21 season on Saturday against Cal Poly.
The Cougars and Mustangs faced off but did so swimming in each program's home pool in a virtual meet. The squads then compared times, including adjusting BYU's for altitude, to determine placements.
"It was so great to have everybody racing again," said BYU swim coach John Brooks. "Josue Dominguez broke a pool record and Brad Prolo broke a team record. On the women's side, Gwen Gustafson swam really well along with co-captain Brynn Sproul and Charlotte Fieeiki."
"The team did really well for a new style of virtual meet," added BYU dive coach Tyce Routson. "It was great to have the support of family members attending to help the divers focus and kick off our season."
Dominguez claimed the titles in the 100 breaststroke (53.25) and 200 breaststroke (1:58.84) while also helping the 200 medley relay and 400 free relay to victories as well.
Prolo set down a time of 1:45.55 in the 200 butterfly, setting a program record held previously by Hayden Palmer at 1:45.91 in 2014.
Sophomore Tama Tuitama took first in the 200 free with a time of 1:39.93 while sophomore Tyler Edlefsen ran away with the 400 IM crown. Junior Javier Nicolas Matta, junior Jared Shaw and Tuitama also finished 1-2-3 in the 100 freestyle for the Cougars.
In the diving events, reigning MPSF Diver of the Year Mickey Strauss easily won the 3-meter competition with a score of 342.80, an NCAA qualifying score, while also claiming the 1-meter title by just over seven points with a 289.65.
Gustafson took the 50 free title with a time of 23.54, then won the 100 free as well in 52.61.
Sproul took the 100 backstroke, edging Fieeiki 56.39 to 56.86, then easily won the 500 free by five seconds with a time of 5:01.99. Fieeiki came back to win the 100 butterfly at 57.25.
Sophomore Katie McBratney cruised to victory in the 100 breaststroke in a time of 1:03.11 and added another commanding win in the 400 IM, taking first six seconds before the next swimmer.
Competing in her first meet, freshman Rivers Johnson placed first in the 200 backstroke with a 2:05.94. Sophomore Lily Plaudis added a win in the 200 breaststroke while sophomore Jessica LeSueur added a victory in the 1,000 freestyle.
The Cougars also impressively took the top three spots in the 200 medley relay in addition to winning the 400 free relay.
All-American Kennedy Cribbs swept the diving events by winning the 1-meter and 3-meter competitions, surpassing NCAA qualifying scores in both.
BYU will next compete in Provo on Saturday, Nov. 7, at 2 p.m. MT against Colorado Mesa and Dixie State.
BYU Opens Fall with Virtual Meet
PROVO, Utah – After months of dealing with the effects of the coronavirus pandemic since March when the NCAA Championships were canceled, BYU swim and dive is returning to competition on Saturday, Oct. 31, against Cal Poly.
But even this weekend's meet will be affected by the coronavirus as the Cougars and Mustangs will compete virtually, with each team swimming and diving in their home pools and comparing times and scores after to determine placements.
Last season, the Cal Poly men finished fifth and the women sixth at last year's MPSF Championships. BYU's men took second and women placed third in the same meet.
"We have been training hard and want a chance to show off our work," BYU head coach John Brooks said.
BYU has this meet against Cal Poly and a second meet against Colorado Mesa on Nov. 7 in Provo scheduled for this fall with other meets possible.
"We want to keep everyone healthy, in shape and mentally strong this fall," Brooks said. "We'll take advantage of every chance we have to race."
Top returners on the men's side include junior Josue Dominguez, the school record-holder in both the 100 and 200 breaststroke who is set to compete in the next Summer Olympics with the Dominican Republic. Fellow junior Javier Nicolas Matta has earned numerous All-MPSF honors and is second all-time at BYU in the 100 and 200 fly. Senior Jared Shaw was named an All-American last year after qualifying for the NCAA Championships in the 50 free. On the diving side, sophomore Mickey Strauss was named the MPSF Diver of the Year last season after taking All-MPSF First Team in all three diving events and breaking BYU's program record on platform.
For the women's squad, junior Kennedy Cribbs returns after earning All-America status for qualifying for the NCAA Championships in the 1-meter and 3-meter dive events. Other returners include junior Gwen Gustafson, the Cougars' 50 and 100 free All-Conference performer; MPSF Freshman of the Year Katie McBratney, and junior All-MPSF backstroker Brynn Sproul.
"The men's team is deep in a lot of events and the relays should be strong," Brooks commented. "The women's team is strong and very balanced in many events."