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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat

 

Family atmosphere key to UA swimming’s success

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If there are any questions about Cory Chitwood’s place in the hierarchy of college swimming, a quick glance at his in-pool accomplishments should take care of them.

Chitwood is the two-time defending NCAA champion in the individual 200-yard backstroke and currently holds the fastest times in the country for 200-yard breaststroke and the 200-yard individual medley. Besides those accomplishments, he is also currently senior captain of the No.1-ranked and undefeated Arizona Wildcats.

These accolades sprung from Chitwood’s love for swimming, which he discovered as a child. His mother was a swimmer and the family had a pool in the backyard, giving Chitwood plenty of time around water.

“I could swim actually before I could walk,” Chitwod said.

Although he played a lot of sports growing up, he was always fond of the individual competitiveness of swimming. When he entered high school, Chitwood’s parents made him commit to a single sport, and “everything worked out for the best,” he said.

Chitwood has helped lead an Arizona swim team that’s defeated the No. 2, 3, 6 and 8 teams in the country this season, helping the Wildcats gear up at a run for a national championship.

“We have taken the right steps in trying to reach our goals,” Chitwood said. “I think that stems from the leadership from all the seniors we have.”

With an undefeated record and national title aspirations comes pressure, but Chitwood said he sees it as a force that can propel a person and team forward.

“I think pressure and adversity is going to show your true team’s colors and it’s going to bring out the best in your team,” Chitwood said. “And our team has faced that all year.”

The Wildcats have been able to rely on each other all season, and their camaraderie and unity were evident during Saturday’s 155-88 win over Texas. The Wildcats constantly cheered for their teammates during and after the race.

“I don’t even think the word team really describes the swim team that well, it is truly a family,” Chitwood said. “We’re with each other all the time, and everyone loves each other.”

The team unity was something that Chitwood felt immediately after arriving in Tucson for his recruiting trip.

“That’s something you really can’t find anywhere else in the country,” Chitwood said. “I think if you were to ask anyone on the team, that’s the part they love the most and the aspect that stands out the most.”

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