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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat


Pair of Wildcats win national championships while swim takes fourth at NCAA

Gordon Bates
Gordon Bates / Arizona Daily Wildcat

Three members of the Arizona swim and dive team won national championships and the Wildcats finished in fourth place at the NCAA Championships over the weekend.

Senior Cory Chitwood was able to defend his back-to-back championships in the 200-yard backstroke, becoming the third Wildcat to win three or more national championships. Chitwood said he didn’t care about breaking records but wanted to put himself in a position for success. Even though Chitwood had a rough start in the beginning of the meet, he was able to fight back and claim his championship.

The UA swim program has had at least one national champion in every year since 2004. Ben Grado made history on Saturday by becoming the first Arizona diver to win a national championship. Grado, who suffered a potentially career-ending injury during his sophomore year, beat out 25 other divers and posted a score of 487.25 to claim his win.

“I never expected for this moment to happen,” Grado said. “Now that it has, I am so grateful to have all the coaches, all my family, all the team — everyone’s support in it. It has all aided in my success.”

Arizona had success in the 200-yard breaststroke from the likes of freshman Kevin Cordes and junior Carl Mickelson, finishing the event in third and fourth place. Cordes won an individual championship in the 100-yard breaststroke to round off his good weekend of performances.

Seniors Kelley Wyman and Adam Small, along with sophomores Mitchell Friedemann and Giles Smith, finished sixth in the 400-yard freestyle relay.

Senior Austen Thompson placed first in the 400-yard individual medley.

Arizona was able to break two American records, win five titles and have 15 All-Americans in its fourth-place finish. The Wildcats fell behind third-place Stanford, second-place Texas and national champion California.

Championship scoreboard

1. California – 535.5
2. Texas – 491
3. Stanford – 426.5
4. Arizona – 396
5. Michigan – 271

Source: NCAA

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