As the Wildcats near the start of the fall season, Arizona’s top-tier men’s swimming and diving team welcomes a handful of new freshmen to provide additional depth and complement the consistency and experience expected from returners.
Freshmen Renny Richmond, Gage Crosby, Thane Maudslien and Carson Brindle joined the team this year.
The program’s newest Wildcats have already begun to adjust to the rigorous workouts and practices that come with being a student-athlete.
“So far they have done a great job,” head coach Eric Hansen said. “They’re hardworking guys. By December, I think they could really help us out. They fit into our program and are tenacious, low-maintenance and talented athletes.”
Brindle, a sprint freestylist and breaststroker, provides support to the Wildcats’ sprinting group and has compiled personal bests of 20.0 and 45.1 seconds in the 50- and 100-yard freestyle events and a 56.3 second time in the 100y breaststroke. For many athletes, including the Portland, Ore., native, the chance to train and compete at the UA is a dream come true.
“I chose Arizona because of the comfortable yet competitive atmosphere,” Brindle said. “I’m looking forward to working hard every day in practice so I can always perform to the best of my abilities. I like that the team gets along well together. The coaches are great and the facilities and weather are really nice, too.”
With the first meet still more than a month away, some newcomers said they are restless for the start of competition.
Crosby, a native of Bentonville, Ark., was the 34th ranked recruit by CollegeSwimming.com and committed to the Wildcats last October.
“I can’t wait to start racing,” Crosby said. “Personally, my current goals are to, hopefully, make NCAA [cuts] and place in the top eight.”
He previously trained with the Razorback Aquatic Club AquaHawgs team and was the top-ranked swimmer out of Arkansas in 2013 by a large margin. He is a breaststroke specialist and has amassed top times of 1:03.40 and 2:16.92 in the 100- and 200-meter breaststroke events.
Maudslien represents Arizona’s most versatile freshman pickup and excels in freestyle and backstroke. The Burien, Wash., native has acquired top times of 48.5 seconds and 1:43.90 in the 100y and 200y backstroke races.
Richmond, a native of Haiku, Hawaii, enters Arizona’s program as the fastest 100y butterfly swimmer on the island and one of the top in the world. He trained in Tucson during the summer and said he is excited to improve and learn from his older teammates.
“I came over here in the summer to get used to the program,” Richmond said. “It might take some time to adjust to this new level of competition, but I’m confident that training and learning from the older guys will make it easier.”
Richmond also excels as a sprint freestylist and has been compared to senior Wildcat swimmer Giles Smith. Richmond was a six-time state champion in high school and participated at the U.S. Olympic Trials in the 100m butterfly.
With solid returning swimmers and promising young newcomers, it’s clear why Arizona expects to remain a swimming powerhouse.
“We want support from everybody,” Hansen said. “If you are on this team, you are going to be expected to contribute. We are going to give [the freshmen] the resources necessary to be successful, so that is why we have [high] expectations for them.”
—Follow Evan Rosenfeld @EvanRosenfeld17