Swimming and diving sweeps first home meet
You could hear the chants all the way from the UA Mall.
“Zona, Zona, Zona, Zona…” led by senior Giles Smith, echoed through Hillenbrand Aquatic Center before Arizona swimming and diving’s dual meet against UNLV Friday. The Wildcats swept the Rebels, with the men’s team outscoring UNLV 208-91 and the women winning 183-109.
The Wildcats claimed first, second, and third in seven categories: women’s 200y freestyle, women’s 200y butterfly, women’s 50y freestyle, women’s 100y freestyle, men’s 200y backstroke, women’s 200y breaststroke, and women’s 100y breaststroke where four UA swimmers recorded top finishes.
“I feel like we worked together as a unit, we brought more energy and enthusiasm and had some really good swims to start off. Kelly Moodie in the 200y free really got the energy going,” junior Kevin Cordes said about teammate Moodie’s narrow victory against UNLV’s Giacomo Gremizzi by six-hundredths of a second.
Tyler Baker / The Daily Wildcat UA swimmer, Margo M. Geer swims against UCLA on Friday at home.
Cordes’ two individual victories were anything but narrow. He won the 100y breaststroke by more than a second and the 200y breaststroke by almost four seconds. He also aided the 200y medley relay team to a first-place victory.
“I try to work on fundamentals and pick out specific things I can work on — my turns, breakouts, pull outs — that kind of stuff,” Cordes said.
Focusing on the little things made all the difference for Arizona, whose head coach Eric Hansen took a sudden leave of absence Oct. 22 for “personal reasons.”
“They’re facing adversity and handling it very well, I’m really proud of them, they really raised the bar today,” said associate head coach Rick DeMont, who was left in control of the team upon Hansen’s leave.
Senior Margo Geer was one of those to raise the bar, shaving four seconds off her 200y freestyle time from last Saturday’s meet at Utah and winning the event in 1:47.29, just .31 seconds ahead of sophomore teammate Bonnie Brandon.
“I think the main difference at this meet was being able to race my teammate, Bonnie Brandon. Racing her is a sign of good things to come,” Geer said.
Geer also claimed victories in the 50y freestyle and 100y freestyle. Brandon won the 200y backstroke for the second meet in a row. Arizona finished first in all but seven of 32 events. The women’s 400y freestyle relay would have earned another win, but the team was disqualified for a false start.
UNLV head coach Jim Reitz commended the Wildcats, saying this meet provided a lesson for his team that can make them better for the end of the year.
“It’s a great way to start the season to compare ourselves to some of the best swimmers in the world,” Reitz said.
For Arizona, the victory shows that, despite the circumstances, it can continue to focus on morale and doing what it does best: swimming.
“We are all in exactly the same boat. We wish we knew but we don’t so we just have to continue to swim,” DeMont said.
The Wildcats will take a two-week break before hosting UCLA at Hillenbrand Aquatic Center on Nov. 8.
— Follow Nicole Cousins @cousinnicole