Arizona swimming sets records at Pac-12 Championships
The Arizona men’s swimming team earned a slew of first-place finishes and several meet records during the Pac-12 Conference Championships, held last week in Federal Way, Wash.
The Wildcats were led by junior breaststroker Kevin Cordes as well as Brad Tandy, who hadn’t raced all year. The UA finished fourth overall with California taking the top spot.
On the first night of action, Arizona earned its first Pac-12 title in the 200-yard medley relay as the team of Cordes, Tandy, Mitchell Friedemann and Giles Smith finished in 1:23.50, breaking the previous meet record by nearly half a second.
Tandy continued to raise eyebrows with a record setting performance on day two. His time of 18.80 in the 50-yard freestyle is the best ever at the Pac-12s, and the fastest in school history.
Senior Matt Barber took third in the 500-yard freestyle with a time of 4:14.36. In the 200-yard individual medley, senior Sam Rowan earned a fourth-place finish with a time of 1:44.40.
On Friday, Cordes shattered the meet record in the 100-yard breaststroke, touching the wall at 51.23. He followed that performance by breaking the meet record in the 200-yard breaststroke the next day. In fact, Cordes set the record in prelims before upping the ante in the finals — posting a time of 1:51.80.
Giles Smith, who was named the 2014 Pac-12 Men’s Swimming Scholar-Athlete of the Year, secured a victory in the 100-yard butterfly with a time of 45.92. The senior from Baltimore, Md. collected six individual first-place finishes over the course of the season.
The competition ended with a strong performance by the Wildcats in the 400-yard freestyle relay. The team of Tandy, Smith, Friedemann and Brian Stevens took second place with a time of 2:52.35.
In his first official meet as a Wildcat, Tandy accrued multiple top-three finishes, including wins in two relays and one individual event. Although the junior has been with the team all year, he hasn’t been able to participate due to eligibility issues regarding the year he spent training for the South African Olympic team after high school. The NCAA gave Tandy clearance to swim late last month.
The next time the Wildcats hit the pool will be March 27 for the NCAA Championships in Austin, Texas.
—Follow Mark Armao @MarkArmao