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UCLA swim and dive dominates Utah with focus on underwaters

Sophomore Rosie Murphy breathes and cuts upward with her right arm during a UCLA swim and dive backstroke race. (Alice Yang/Daily Bruin)

Swim and Dive

No. 25 UCLA190

By Sabrina Baker

Jan. 14, 2024 5:44 p.m.

Correction: The original version of this article incorrectly stated that UCLA wim and dive won all but two events in its dual meet against Utah. In fact, it won all but three events. The original version of this article also incorrectly stated that UCLA won 13 swimming events. In fact, it won 12 swimming events.

This post was updated Jan. 17 at 12:40 p.m.

“Smoking” and “freaking good.”

Those were coach Jordan Wolfrum’s words of choice to describe sophomore Rosie Murphy’s 200-yard backstroke win.

Murphy’s over three-second win was one of 13 by No. 25 UCLA swim and dive (5-1, 3-1 Pac-12) as it faced off against Utah (7-4, 0-3) at Spieker Aquatics Center on Saturday. The Bruins won all but three events.

Murphy said she wanted to utilize her underwaters – the portion of the race either off of the dive or off of the flip turn when the swimmer is streamlining and kicking before breaking the surface of water – in the 200-yard backstroke.

“I’ve been trying to take it out faster recently, so it felt good that I was able to take it out fast and also finish well,” Murphy said. “I’m always focusing on holding my underwaters because I think that is a strong suit of mine, so it was really nice to have all of those factors click.”

Murphy was also a part of the Bruins’ early-meet podium sweep in the 100-yard breaststroke, where she finished third behind freshman Sarah Bennetts and junior Eva Carlson.

Wolfrum said she was impressed with of a lot of performances at the meet.

“Our relays were really well done,” Wolfrum said. “That 400 medley was, I believe, the strongest 400 medley unsuited that we’ve put together this season. ”

The 400-yard medley relay kicked off the meet, with UCLA’s A team winning the event by almost 3.5 seconds ahead of the B team in second.

Following the relay, the Bruins won five more events back to back. Utah won its first event, the 50-yard freestyle, but graduate student Brooke Schaffer started the Bruins’ next event win streak with a time of 50.36 seconds in the 100-yard freestyle.

Schaffer said her underwaters felt strong in that race.

“I’ve been doing a lot of resistance training, and it used to not be a strong suit of mine,” Schaffer said. “It was awesome that they were good this time.”

Schaffer won every event that she competed in.

Wolfrum said Schaffer’s dominance comes from her ability to believe in herself.

“This year she came in with renewed confidence and commitment and really clear goals, but also the confidence to just allow herself to race with freedom and swagger,” Wolfrum said.

With 12 swimming event wins, including three podium sweeps in the 100-yard butterfly, 200-yard breaststroke and 100-yard breaststroke, the Bruins secured an 84-point win – 34 more points than last year’s win over the Utes.

Murphy said even after intense winter training, this meet reminded her to be at ease in the pool.

“After San Diego, coming to this meet, I definitely was more comfortable and knew what I could do with all that training behind me,” Murphy said. “So it felt really good.”

The Bruins will have an almost three-week break from competition before they return to Spieker Aquatics Center to compete against No. 10 Stanford and No. 9 California on Feb. 2 and 3.

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Sabrina Baker | Sports contributor
Baker is currently a Sports contributor on the swim & dive beat.
Baker is currently a Sports contributor on the swim & dive beat.
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