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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat


Q&A;: Eric Hansen

UA swimming and diving Head coach Eric Hansen leads the team during a practice on June 14. Hansen, previously the head coach at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, was hired in April to replace long-time coach Frank Busch.

After 22 seasons at Arizona as the head coach of Arizona’s swimming and diving team, Frank Busch was offered the prestigious position of USA Swimming’s national team director in February. Even though his last day wouldn’t be until May, the search for a new coach began quickly.

In April, the search stopped with Eric Hansen, previously the head coach at the University of Wisconsin-Madison.

Last week, in between snacking on Triscuits and heading to the team’s Southwest Invitational meet, the new head coach sat down with the Arizona Summer Wildcat to talk about his transition back to Tucson.

Summer Wildcat: You have some history in Tucson. Did you expect to come back here?

Hansen: No, I never really thought much about it, but it’s certainly an honor. I actually went to graduate school here, trained and was on the national team while I was here. I was also an assistant coach for three years and enjoyed every minute of it.


What prompted you to leave?

I was offered the head coaching position at Wisconsin, and I was there for 12 years. I was very happy with it, but when the opportunity presented itself (the Arizona position), it got pretty exciting pretty quickly.


When you were offered the position, was it an immediate yes?

I knew for what I wanted out of my career and to see what I was capable of, I knew it was a yes. But it was hard leaving the kids that I had because I really loved the team, though at the same time, everything I’ve done career-wise has been pointed toward something like this. I studied it, I competed at the highest level and to work with athletes at this level is a good fit for me, and I think it’s probably what I do best.


How was your transition from Wisconsin to Tucson?

As far as the athletes have gone, I think the transition has been optimal. That’s been the highlight of my transition. There’s a lot of things that take time, but the clock is ticking. We’re a year away from the Olympics and I know there are some big expectations as far as NCAAs go. The more time you spend worrying, the more time you spend wasting, and, I think that’s the way they reacted. They (the athletes) said, “”Let’s go, let’s do this,”” and that’s what I’m all about, too.


Did you have any concerns replacing Busch?

None whatsoever, I don’t worry about the past at all. I was a part of the staff with Frank (Busch) and I don’t think he’d want that either. The past is the past, let’s see what we can do in the future. Maybe we can redefine something. I’m not worried about the challenge at all, because there’s nobody that’s going to set higher expectations than myself, and I’m going to work for them.


Will your training plan be similar to Busch’s?

We’re very similar. We try to qualify in December for NCAA championships, swim through the (Pacific 12 Conference) championships and peak in NCAA. Then, use that as momentum to go into Olympic trials and then the Olympics.

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