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Arizona swimming and diving head coach Hansen traveling to Istanbul

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Annie Marum
Annie Marum / Arizona Daily Wildcat Eric Hansen, Head Coach Men’s and Women’s Swim and Dive.

Eric Hansen, head coach of Arizona’s Swimming and Diving team, was selected to lead the U.S. men’s swim team at the Short Course World Championships in Istanbul, Turkey this December.

“It’s quite an honor,” Hansen said. “It’s something I’m excited to be a part of, especially having a group of athletes on the same trip representing the U.S. and the UA as well. It is going to be a lot of fun.”

Kevin Cordes, Clark Burckle, Ellyn Baumgardner and Bonnie Brandon will represent both the United States and the UA in the event this winter.

Hansen has coached the US national team before, in 2011 at the World University Games, in 2006 at the World Short Course Championships and in 2003 at the Pan-American games.

Hansen swam competitively from the age of five until he was 26, forming a very particular philosophy in the process.

“My mentality as a swimmer was always aggression,” Hansen said. “I was a sprinter, and in this sport, being aggressive with what you do and then being able to finish it at the same time is a balancing act. To me, competition means being smart but also being able to be aggressive.”

As a swimmer for Iowa State University, Hansen earned All-American honors six times and was named the Big 8 Conference swimmer of the year in 1987 and 1988, while also being Iowa State’s athlete of the year in the later year.

In 1987, Hansen won two gold medals at the World Games in Yugoslavia. In 1990, he won a U.S. Championship in the 100 breaststroke.

“I didn’t expect any of it,” Hansen said. “I knew I had put the work in and had come a long way, but still I was surprised. I grew into versatility as a swimmer, so I was very honored.”

After graduating from Iowa State, Hansen attended the University of Arizona for graduate school, where he swam for the club team, Click Tucson. From 1996-1999, Hansen served as assistant coach for the Wildcats under Frank Busch, coaching numerous Pac-10 champions, 11 All-Americans and six national champions during his tenure.

After his time at Arizona, and a brief stint as Florida’s assistant coach, Hansen went on to serve as the head coach for the University of Wisconsin swimming program. He coached the Badgers for 12 seasons, compiling an overall combined dual record of 182-61 (.749) while revitalizing the men’s team and leading the women’s program to nine top-20 finishes at the NCAA Championships.

He was named a Big Ten Conference coach of the year in his second year at Wisconsin.

After the 2010-2011 season, Hansen decided to return to Arizona, succeeding Frank Busch and taking over as head coach.

“This is a place that is very special to me,” Hansen said of the UA. “It’s a place where I competed and went to school, so being able to come back here was pretty much a dream come true. I know the history of the program and to have a hand in continuing that is something I don’t take lightly.”

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