MORGANTOWN, W.Va. – The West Virginia University men’s swimming and diving teams led the way for WVU’s squad as they defeated Villanova Saturday afternoon, at the Aquatic Center at Mylan in Morgantown.

The men’s team was victorious over the Wildcats, earning a score of 195-96, while the women fell to both Villanova (177-120) and Iowa State (198-101). Fifth-year David Dixon led the way for West Virginia, with four total wins, including two three solos, in the contest. Seven Mountaineers tallied multiple victories, and 12 different Mountaineers earned a victory against the Wildcats and the Cyclones.

“I knew today was going to be a tough challenge for the teams, coming off our past two weeks of COVID-19 issues,” WVU coach Vic Riggs said. “I thought we had some bright spots, but we obviously have some work to do to be ready before the Big 12 Championship. If there is any group that can accept this challenge, this group can and I believe they will.”

West Virginia tallied their first win of the meet in the men’s 200 medley relay. The Mountaineers had a 1-2 finish led by sophomore Justin Heimes, senior Fausto Huerta, Dixon and fifth-year Max Gustafson, touching in 1:31.53. Freshman Zhenya Ingram, juniors Conrad Molinaro and David Snider, and freshman Braden Osborn took second, with a time of 1:33.84.

Next up, in the 1650, sophomore William Mullen took first on the men’s side for the first WVU individual victory of the day. Mullen finished with a time of 15:49.78, while freshman Emily Knorr notched third in the women’s event (17:41.97).

Gustafson led the Mountaineer men 1-2-3 finish in the men’s 200 freestyle, recording a time of 1:42.51. Sophomores Roanoke Shirk and Brendan Williams followed behind, with Shirk in second (1:43.00) and Williams in third (1:44.27). During the women’s event, sophomore Abby Reardon finished with a time of 1:52.11, good enough for second-place.

Heimes grabbed another victory for WVU, as he took first in the men’s 100 backstroke. The sophomore finished with a time of 49.42, followed by senior Josh Harlan in third (52.36).

The men’s squad had a dominating performance in the 100 breaststroke, led by Huerta in first (57.22). Molinaro notched a second place finish (59.63), while freshman Jake Young completed the Mountaineer sweep in third (59.66).

West Virginia tallied three more wins in the 200 butterfly and 50 freestyle events just before the first break. Freshman Mia Walters paced the women in the 200 fly in 2:04.62 and Dixon finished first for the men with a time of 1:49.76. In the 50 free, freshman Conner McBeth touched first in 20.94, with Osborn in second (21.00).

In the diving well, West Virginia another sweep in the men’s 1-meter springboard event. Senior PJ Lenz led the way for the Mountaineers with a 292.30, senior Nick Cover followed in second (266.95) and freshman Glenn Eloriaga in third (252.60). On the women’s 3-meter, senior Camille Burt paced the women, taking second with a score of 286.55. Freshman Sarah Krusinski followed in third with a mark of 259.90.

Lenz again led the way for the men on 3-meter, as he notched a season-best score of 318.70. Junior Owen Johns took second place on the event with a 293.15 mark. For the women, Krusinski secured second place on 1-meter to lead the Mountaineers, earning a score of 260.20. Burt followed in third (249.35), while junior Marian Tiemeier finished third (246.90).

“We got off to a slow start, however there were a handful of divers returning from several days off,” diving coach Karla Helder said. “By the next event, most were firing on all cylinders and were ready to compete. We’ve got a couple weeks to the Big 12 Championship, we are focused on staying healthy, strong and moving towards our season finals.”

Back in the competition pool, McBeth then added his second solo victory of the day in the 100 free with a time of 45.66, while Gustafson finished second (45.77) and Osborn closed the WVU sweep in third (46.92). Next up, in the women’s 200 back Knorr took first (2:03.47) and junior Paige Dressel finished second (2:04.14).

Another trio of wins came from the men’s squad in the 200 breast and 500 free. First junior Jonathan Bennett claimed the 200 breast (2:09.40), then Mullen took the 500 free (4:39.77).

To wrap up individual competition, Dixon tallied two more individual victories in the 100 fly (49.89) and 200 IM (1:52.00). The day then concluded with the 400 freestyle relay. The men’s team of Osborn, McBeth, Snider and Gustafson finished in second place, as they combined to post a time of 3:04.89. In the women’s event, Reardon,  fifth-year Ana Zortea, juniors Ginger Hansen and Jacqueline McCutchan closed the day with a fourth-place finish in 3:22.18.

With Saturday’s victory, the Mountaineer men’s team improves to 1-0 in dual meets, while the squad remains at 1-0 in the Big 12. The win was the eighth consecutive victory over the Wildcats for the men’s team. The women fall to 0-2 in dual-meet competition, and they are 0-1 in the Big 12.

The Mountaineers are back to competition next week as they travel to South Bend, Indiana on Friday, Jan. 28 and Saturday, Jan. 29, to compete against the Fighting Irish. This meet marks the eighth all-time meeting between West Virginia and Notre Dame. Competition is set to begin at 5 p.m. ET on Friday and 11 a.m. on Saturday.

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