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Wednesday, April 23, 2014 | Last updated: 11:07pm

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Swimming faces loaded Texas Invite field



The Arizona No. 10 men’s and No. 6 women’s swim teams finish their fall season of competition with the Texas Invitational in Austin, Texas, beginning on Thursday.

The Wildcats will battle Texas (No. 1 men’s, No. 9 women’s), USC (No. 4 men’s, No. 1 women’s), UCLA (No. 14 women’s), Harvard (No. 18 men’s, No. 22 women’s), Penn State (No. 24 men’s and women’s), Wisconsin (No. 17 women’s), BYU, UC Santa Barbara and Oklahoma Baptist in the three-day event.

Interim head coach Rick DeMont said the team has been training and competing with the Texas Invite in mind all fall. The Wildcats have worked to produce their best times of the season this weekend.

Standout UA swimmers like seniors Margo Geer and Giles Smith, junior Kevin Cordes and sophomore Bonnie Brandon are expected to record their best times of the season this weekend.

Geer, a 20-time All-American and 2013 NCAA Champion in the 50-yard and 100y freestyle, is the favorite in her competitions in Austin, as she has not lost a freestyle race yet this season.

As the NCAA Swimmer of the Year for 2013, Cordes holds the American records for the 100y and 200y breaststroke, finishing with a time of 51.74 in the 100y and 1:48.68 in the 200y at the NCAA Championships last season. The junior is the clear favorite in the men’s breaststroke events.

Cordes has outswam his competition by as much as three seconds so far this season.

Smith, a 10-time All-American, should serve as a catalyst in the men’s relay events. The senior co-captain contributed to Arizona’s NCAA title in the 400y medley relay last season. With strengths in the freestyle and butterfly, Smith is a versatile weapon for Arizona.

Perhaps the Wildcats’ most lethal swimmer competing in the invite, Brandon is a school record holder in the 200y backstroke (1:51.41) who also competes in distance freestyle and IM events.

Brandon is already a two-time All-American and has only lost one race so far this year, the 200y freestyle, to teammate Geer in the team’s dual meet against UNLV in October.

The Texas Invitational, which was called the USA Swimming Winter National Championships last year, will be held at the Lee and Joe Jamail Texas Swimming Center. For the order of each day’s events, visit UT’s website.

—Follow Nicole Cousins @cousinnicole


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