Women’s swim, men’s dive finds success at BYU, Utah

Constantin Blaha dives during practice at the Mona Plummer Aquatic Center. Blaha recorded two diving victories over the weekend. (Photo by Aaron Lavinsky)

Before the ASU swim and dive team left to compete in Utah over the weekend, coach Dorsey Tierney-Walker knew it would require a full team effort to achieve success from each of her athletes.

The Sun Devil women’s team needed all the help they could get against BYU on Friday.

In a meet where neither team seemed to control the momentum on the scoreboard, the No. 24 ASU women’s swim team narrowly defeated the Cougars 122-117, while the men’s team fell to BYU 132-111.

As the Sun Devils arrived at the Stephen L. Richards Building, the many spectators in attendance presented the swimmers with a memorable environment.

“The BYU swim stadium was completely packed,” ASU senior Penelope Yamauchi said. “(The fans) wished us the best of luck and actually did a prayer before we swam, which is something I’ve never experienced before. It really helped and brought the energy around the pool.”

The meet began with BYU taking first in the women’s 200-yard medley relay with a time of 1:43.84, followed by ASU answering in the men’s respective event with 1:32.78.

ASU sophomore Tristin Baxter placed first in the 1000 free in 10:09.17, and after watching teammate sophomore David Adalsteinsson win the men’s 1000 free, she went back in the water and won the 200 free in 1:52.26.

Adalsteinsson also went on to win the 200 back in 1:52.32. Junior Caroline Kuczynski’s first-place finishes in the 200 fly and the 200 IM made her the third Sun Devil to record multiple individual victories.

The other side of the building featured a battle between two senior All-Americans. ASU’s Constantin Blaha defeated BYU’s Brandon Watson in the three-meter springboard with a score of 407.78, while Watson placed over Blaha to win the one-meter at 375.98.

The meet on the women’s side was not decided until the 200 free relays. Although the BYU women took first, ASU sealed its victory when their “A” team finished in second and tallied in the clinching four points.

Different city, same result

After fighting for their win in Provo just 19 hours earlier, the ASU women’s talent was more noticeable against Pac-12 newcomer Utah at the Ute Natatorium, routing the Utes 178-100.

The men, however, still could not come home with a team win, and fell to Utah 165-135, giving the Utes’ men their first conference win as a member of the Pac-12.

Yamauchi took home first-place finishes in the 200 breast (2:19.31) and in the 200 IM (2:05.87), both events she won by at least four seconds.

Blaha recorded another diving win in the one-meter springboard (398.70) and senior Cameron Bradshaw placed first in the three-meter (411.30).

As expected, the Utah altitude challenged the Sun Devils throughout the entire weekend.

“We definitely felt a little rusty … We haven’t had much experience dealing with altitude,” Yamauchi said.

“(Some) people handled it really well and some didn’t.”

The Sun Devils visit Stanford (No. 3 men, No. 6 women) on Jan. 21, followed by defending men’s national champion California (No. 6 men, No. 2 women) in Berkeley the next day.

Reach the reporter at jnacion@asu.edu