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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat


Wildcats swimmers electrify at USA AT&T Winter Nationals

The Arizona swim and dive team showcased its talent this weekend at the USA AT&T Winter Nationals, placing first in 14 events while setting eight meet records and two national records at the Lee and Joe Jamail Texas Swimming Center in Austin, Texas.

“I really could not be any happier with our performances this weekend,” head coach Eric Hansen said. “We won 14 events and set two American records. I feel like we swam well enough to qualify a good amount of our swimmers. We positioned ourselves at the top of the rankings individually, and that is always beneficial.”

The Wildcats were led in part this weekend by sophomore breaststroker Kevin Cordes, who became the first male swimmer to ever break the 1:51 mark in the 200-yard breaststroke, compiling a time of 1:50.73 and making him the fastest American 200y breaststroker.

“It was really special to see Kevin set two records,” junior Giles Smith said. “He is one of my best friends on the team, and I am really happy for him. He is a really talented athlete.”

Cordes’ record came just a day after he broke the American record in the 100-yard breaststroke. On Friday, Cordes smashed the American record and won first place with a time of 51.10.

“It felt pretty surreal,” Cordes said. “Seeing all of the hard work pay off was really exciting and felt amazing. I feel like the whole team did well this weekend. We had a lot of people qualify for NCAA and all the relays made the cuts.”

Junior free-stylist Margo Geer continued to dominate, besting four-time Olympic gold medalist Missy Franklin by nearly half a second and compiling a 47.16 in the 100-freestyle, just two-tenths of a second away from her lifetime best 47.14.

“I wasn’t too concerned about her in general,” Geer said. “I was just trying to do my best and compete as hard as I could. I’m still hoping to get to that 46-second caliber for my 100 free. It gives me something to work toward for the spring.”

Arizona completed a perfect meet in the relay events, sweeping the 400-yard freestyle relays on Saturday, winning both 4×200y medley relays on Friday and placing first in four relays on Thursday for a perfect 8-0 record.

“I think we really exceled in our relays this weekend,” Smith said. “All of our performances were good enough to qualify automatically for NCAA-A cuts, something we were unable to accomplish last year. I think we did really well. We qualified a lot of people this weekend.”

Smith took third place in his 100y butterfly event on Friday, compiling a 45.81 and finishing just behind his rival, Tom Shields (44.88).

Arizona’s underclassmen also made waves this weekend as freshman Bonnie Brandon set a school record in the 200y backstroke, compiling a 1:51.49.

“Bonnie Brandon had a pretty amazing performance,” Hansen said.

“It’s really special when someone breaks a school record, especially in December as a freshman. Overall, I can’t say I saw anything that really surprised me this weekend. It was rewarding to see swimmers achieving what they have worked so hard for.”

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