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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat


Freshman swimmer Cordes making waves

Colin Prenger
Colin Prenger / Arizona Daily Wildcat Freshman Kevin Cordes is doing laps at the Hillenbrand Aquatic Center Monday, Oct. 24.

Despite being an 18-year-old freshman, Arizona swimmer Kevin Cordes is ready to compete at a very high level, and his confidence and natural ability already have his coaches talking.

“Kevin, being as talented as he is, it’s fun to watch him progress through it,” said assistant coach Tracy Duchac. “We’re asking him to do a lot of different things that he’s not used to, and to see that progression already, from the beginning of the season to now, is fun to watch.”

Coming off a successful first meet against UNLV, Cordes and the rest of the men’s swim team will get their second chance to compete on Friday at 2 p.m. when they take on the Wisconsin Badgers at Hillenbrand Aquatic Center.

Cordes will be competing in the breaststroke for the men — something Duchac says is no easy task, especially for a freshman.

“He’s uber competitive and he’s very naturally talented,” Duchac said. “You can’t really put a lot of breaststrokers together the way he’s put together.”

Although he’s already regarded highly by both coaches and teammates, Cordes still recognizes the work he’s going to have to put in to keep competing.

“I came from a team that didn’t have many breaststrokers to train with,” he said. “So training with people that are faster than me in practice just pushes me harder and I get to learn from them my weaknesses. They can help me out, and it has been a lot of help.”

Top programs like California, Auburn, Virginia, and USC — who have a combined 20 national titles between them — also recruited Cordes, who was a state champion swimmer in high school. But for Cordes, choosing Arizona was about more than swimming for a top program.

“I love the team atmosphere, and also the weather, obviously. The coaching staff as well. I just loved everything about it when I came out,” he said.

First-year coach Eric Hansen didn’t recruit Cordes, but upon meeting him in the spring, Hansen knew he would be a good fit.

“I spent the day with him and his family on Easter Sunday,” Hansen said. “I got to know him real quick, and really liked what I saw.”
Since stepping on campus, Cordes hasn’t let Hansen or Duchac down.

“He’s very coachable,” Hansen said. “I like his attitude and we have a great working relationship. It makes it fun to come to work everyday.”

Cordes might not be the most experienced, most talented or most notable swimmer on the team, but he has his mind set on following in the footsteps of former Wildcats Rick DeMont, who coaches Arizona, and Amanda Beard, who has spent time at UA practices.

“I want people to know my name,” Cordes said. “I want people to say I was a contender for NCAA championships and the Olympics.”

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