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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat


Arizona swimming preview: vast improvements ahead

Michelle A. Monroe
Michelle A. Monroe / Arizona Daily Wildcat University of Arizona Police Department officials gave awards to UA employees and one student who helped them solve crimes or arrest people.

Despite taking over for the legendary Frank Busch as head coach of the UA swimming and diving program last year, Eric Hansen was still able to have a bit of his own success. After 12 seasons of coaching at the University of Wisconsin, Hansen returned to Tucson where he had attended graduate school and won a national championship in the 100m backstroke in 1990.

With Hansen in charge, the men’s team earned a fourth place finish at the NCAA championship, while winning five individual national titles.

“We returned a handful of national champions who are all looking to repeat again this year,” Hansen said. “Giles Smith, Kevin Cordes and Mitchell Friedemann are going to lead our team and help us compete this year.”

Cordes, one of the team’s top competitors, looks to add to an impressive freshman campaign in which he was a four time All-American and national champion. He also broke two American records after finishing the 100 breast in 51:32 and the 200 medley race in 1:23.53, along with competing at the Olympic Trials and finishing third in the 100m breast finals, and 12th in the 200m breast semifinals.

Assistant coach Geoff Hanson enters his second season as an assistant coach for the Wildcats and will be primarily working with Arizona’s distance freestyle and medley swimmers along with recruiting.

“I think our second year will be vastly improved over our first year,” Hanson said. “We definitely have some highly recruited freshmen who we feel will make severe impact despite their level of experience.”

The Wildcats look to add depth to their squad this year with the addition of freshmen like Andrew Sovero, Hayden Sells and Andrew Porter.

“They have already brought a lot of energy and enthusiasm,” Hansen said. “If you combine that with coachibility, we are going to have a really good freshman class.”

During the summer, several Wildcat swimmers competed at the Olympic games in London while the rest of the team began conditioning for NCAA competition.

“We are aiming to be the best we can be,” Hansen said. “We are focused on the process. We are all pulling in the same direction and pushing for the same thing and are confident that we are capable of something special this year.”

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