2020-2021 University of Utah Club Swimming and Diving
Season in Review
The 2020-2021 season was one of the most interesting transitions in the history of the club. It began with a very unusual situation that left the team as a whole unable to swim as a team. When the coronavirus reached the United States, it took many tolls on its citizens. The students at the University of Utah had their Spring break cancelled, classes began to transition to online, events were being cancelled, and all across the nation things were simply shutting down left and right. When the club swim team received an email regarding Nationals of 2020 being cancelled, the team was devastated that they could not race at the meet they had been training for all year long. Unfortunately, to many, it felt as though their college swim career had come to an end. Although no one could have predicted this global pandemic and its varying effects, the members of the team’s executive board had to step up more than ever to tackle the circumstances presented by the health crisis.
Once the Spring 2020 season had come to an end, it was time to get the swim team more involved during the summer. Despite these challenges of working around COVID, we were still able to grow together as a team. Captains Bella Goh and Tom Mi worked tirelessly to recruit team members and plan COVID friendly activities.
One of the ways we got the swimmers more involved was with a Community Engagement Challenge. This activity was meant for swimmers to conduct local outreach and serve in their community to win team gear. Another way we got the swimmers involved with the team was through frequent open water swims. Led by a smaller group of swimmers and the club’s coach Will, this was a great way to keep up the sport of swimming while getting outdoors with other fellow teammates.
Upon the start of the Fall 2020 semester, the team was able to come together more than they did in the Spring and do pool takeovers at the student life center, reserving all of the pool’s lanes at the same time to approach a swim-practice setting. This was a great way for the team to come together and have individual lanes but still do sets as a team, in a COVID-safe manner. In addition to this, the club did yoga over Zoom on the weekends, cooking night, and even a Secret Santa activity in December. The team also held a 12 Days of Christmas challenge which included a workout/ activity to complete each day. UUCS was able to hold virtual challenges such as Red vs. Black week that involved a few different ways to earn points towards your team. We did the annual team scavenger hunt along with a few other activities for earning points towards the virtual challenge tally. This was a great way to create a competition amongst the team, familiarizing new and old members with each other and having a good time.
Although the impact of the coronavirus was huge, the team was still able to attend virtual nationals and have a competition at the end of their season. The dedication and passion of our team came through at this meet showing that even if one must have to race alone, the club team can still swim strong. We saw incredible team spirit through this time as teammates cheered each other on from their isolated lanes, helped to time for each other, and pushed each other. Many members placed in the top 20 including stand-out swims from Luke Miller placing 3rd in the 50 freestyle, first in the 200 freestyle, first in the 100 butterfly, and 2nd in the 100 freestyle. Some other great swims included Olivia Bridenbaugh placing 5th in the 400 Individual Medley and Alina Barnes right behind her, placing 6th overall! Olivia also placed 8th overall in the 200 butterfly and 14th in the 100 butterfly. Alina Barnes with some more great swims placed 9th in the 500 free, 24th in the 200 free, and 35th in the 100 IM. Ian Moore placed 12th overall in the 50 butterfly, 28th in the 50 freestyle, and 4th in the 100 freestyle. Eliot Kang placed 17th in the 200 individual medley and 30th in the 100 butterfly. Amber Brooks placed 8th place in the 500 freestyle, 27th in the 200 free, and 30th in the 100 free. New member Alexander Carhart placed 41st in the 50 fly and 27th in the 50 backstroke. Some great highlights from more swimmers including Anna Foulks placing 34th in the 50 butterfly and 38th in the 100 free. Bella Goh placed 24th in the 50 backstroke. Some other swimmers that swam amazing races ranking in the top 20 included: Jan Weber (9th in the 1000 free and 17th in the 500 free), Chris Schulz (19th in the 200 IM), Julia Bandoni (16th in the 100 breaststroke and 16th in the 50 breaststroke, and 18th in the100 IM), and Clista Galecki (9th in the 1000 free).
Some of the awards that were granted to some of the team’s swimmers included the Most Valued Player (MVP)--which went to Julia Bandoni, who finished first overall on the team in all of her events in the meet for the women, and Luke Miller was the men’s MVP for the team, coming in first on the team in all of his events as well. The team spirit award was granted to Alina for being the most engaged and encouraging swimmer during this tough, unprecedented season.
As a team, we ranked 9th overall in Nationals! The women's team with seven swimmers ranked 11th overall. The men's team ranked 9th overall with only 6 swimmers! A huge congratulations to the club team's national swimmers that were able to compete and showed up to race!
At the close of this season, Utah Club Swimming looks forward to its future as the team plans to become bigger, faster, and better. Serving as the 2021-2022 Executive Board: Anna Foulks, President; Bella Goh, Vice-President; Maloree Barbera, Treasurer; Lillie Orlando, Secretary; Alexander Carhart, Marketing Director; Kara Trombley, Women’s Team Captain; Tom Mi, Men’s Team Captain.