The 2018-19 season began with the officer elections, as our team said farewell to our founder Ethan Beseris. Without Ethan at the helm, Connor Morgan was entrusted as the next to arise to the presidency. With the beginning of the team coming to an end, Connor and the remainder of the Executive Board were given an opportunity to utilize the 2018-19 season as a springboard to propel Utah Club Swim and Dive towards the next level in the world of College Club Swimming.
This season was by far the most successful year in University of Utah Club Swim and Dive history. In the pool, and out of it, University of Utah Club Swimming and Diving made a larger splash than ever before. Starting with recruitment, Team Captain Alina Barnes worked tirelessly over the course of the summer and fall to ensure that we had our largest roster in team history. Beginning with our tribe selections and the Red and Black Intrasquad competition, we welcomed athletes from all walks of life into our community here at the U. With a larger team than ever, we created a home-away-from-home for athletes from 17 different states, as well as 3 different countries. Alina invited the team to her hometown of Saint George for a fall break vacation and a taste of beautiful Red Rock Utah.
Coming back refreshed and ready for more racing, Utah Club Swim and Dive went toe-to-toe with 2015 National Champions CU Boulder at the Boulder Invite, placing second in Men’s, Women’s, and Overall categories. With the team determined as ever, we successfully defended our home pool at the third annual Rocky Mountain Invitational from defending champions CU Boulder. Over the two-day meet, our team fought with all our might, coming out on top for men, women, and overall, and we came out of battle closer to a family than to a swim team. We used this unity to come together again to serve our community with our fall semester team service project, where we created blankets and stuffed animals for Primary Children’s Hospital. Our team capped off fall semester with some holiday-time fun, as we feasted at Teamsgiving and laughed until we cried at our annual White Elephant gift exchange.
Reuniting in the spring, our team traveled to the neighbor state of Colorado, where we faced off against the Colorado Mesa University Club Swim team, where we set personal records both in the pool, as well as the record for “most swimmers squeezed into a 7-person Airbnb” (19). Then, Working with the Salt Lake Rescue Mission, we helped serve meals to the homeless in another service project. Our team flipped out when we had the opportunity to watch the highly esteemed Red Rocks compete against UCLA’s elite gymnastics team. We relaxed before the final push for Nationals with an escape to Utah’s very own Crystal Hot Springs.
As the sum of our efforts, Utah Club Swim and Dive took off for Columbus, Ohio to compete against the nation’s finest club swimmers at the 2019 FINIS College Club Swimming National Championship. It was clear from Day 1 that the team we brought was a whole different beast than years prior. We scratched and clawed our way up the rankings to almost 400 points throughout 3 days of adrenaline-fueled competition, racing head to head with the best teams in CCS and holding our own. Our women’s team exploded from 26th (2018) to a 9th place finish thanks to the efforts of our fastest and deepest women’s roster yet. Our men were not far behind with a 13th place finish, a huge leap from 22nd the year prior. Finishing with an astonishing 11th overall out of 119 teams, our team proved to be one of the premier players in College Club Swimming. We left Ohio having made memories and strengthened relationships that will last a lifetime, more excited for the future than ever before.
Coming back to a warm welcome here in Salt Lake City, we showed out at the 2019 Sport Club Banquet and honored our standout athletes at our own team banquet. Our Rookie of the Year was Aleah Griffin, a sprint standout who boosted our women’s relays to their highest placings yet, as well as scoring individually in the 100 and 200 yard freestyles. Double majoring in Political Science and Biology, the winner of Sport Club Academic Athlete of the Year was our beloved Student Body President and Team President Connor Morgan. Connor was also our male high-point athlete at Nationals, individually scoring 2 top 10 and 2 top 20 finishes at Nationals. Our Female Athlete of the Year was Sam Bagge, our high-point athlete from Nationals. She threw down both on relays and individually, destroying her previous best times almost every time she hit the water. Winning both the B-final of the 50 freestyle and 200 freestyle, she exploded for a 4th place finish in the A-final of the 100 yard freestyle. Our Male Athlete of the Year, Nick Skorut, brought sprint speed to Nationals which the team had never seen from him before. He played a major role on the men’s relays, as well as scoring individually in the B final of the 100 backstroke. On the final day of competition, Nick broke ground by finishing 2nd in his best event, the 50 yard backstroke, winning the first National Championship medal in Utah Club Swim and Dive history.
Finishing the season with a bang, Utah Club Swim and Dive is not resting on its laurels. We’re more motivated than ever to jump up the rankings next year at Nationals, as well as provide the most enjoyable College Club Swimming experience in the country! We would like to thank all of our supporters, whether they are family, friends, or sponsors. We truly could not accomplish what we have without your continued aid. We’re far from done, so stay tuned for more information regarding our team’s plans to make next season faster, bigger, and better!
Serving as the 2019-2020 Executive Board:
Sam Raber: President
Alina Barnes: Vice President
Hope Feliciano: Secretary
John Wagner: Treasurer
Erin Morgan: Marketing Director
Morgan Davis: Dive Team Captain
Nick Skorut: Swim Team Captain