March 25, 2012
FEDERAL WAY, Wash. -
Seniors Ben Grado (Conifer, Colo.) and Cory Chitwood (Union, Ky.) highlighted the third and final night of the 2012 NCAA Men's Swimming Championships on Saturday, as they each earned individual national championship honors to give the Wildcats a fourth place finish.
Chitwood defended his two-time title in the 200 back to become the third Arizona men's swimmer to win three or more national titles. Only Olympians Simon Burnett and Ryk Neethling have accomplished this feat in Wildcat history.
"I know my teammates were looking at me to throw down a fast time and get a win for them and that is all I wanted to do," Chitwood said. "I didn't care about any time, I didn't care about any records. All I wanted to do was put myself in a position where I knew I could win."
"Chitwood had a disastrous start to the meet," Arizona head coach Eric Hansen said. "But he battled back like the champion that he is. He won in ugly fashion, because he didn't have all his weapons, but that was awesome. There is something special about that."
Grado also made history as he became the first Arizona diver in history to win a national championship, posting a score of 487.25 to beat out 25 other divers.
"I never expected for this moment to happen," Grado said. "Now that it has, I am so grateful to have all the coaches, all my family, all the team--everyone's support in it. It has all aided in my success."
To complete the meet, seniors Kelley Wyman (Ft. Pierce, Fla.) and Adam Small (Tempe, Ariz.) and sophomores Mitchell Friedemann (Allenton, Wis.) and Giles Smith (Baltimore, Md.) finished sixth in the 400 free relay.
"I didn't know that I would be this happy with fourth place," Hansen said. "But the things we accomplished were really, really special. We broke two American records and won five titles. This sport isn't always about getting everything you want all the time. It's about adversity and what you're going to do with it and I think that's something we did a really good job of today and through the past few days."
As a program, Arizona has finished in the top 10 every year since 1998 and has had at least one national champion every year since 2004.
Coverage of the finals sessions Friday and Saturday will be broadcast on ESPNU at 12:30 p.m. Eastern time, Sunday, April 1.
For complete results and continued coverage of Arizona Men's Swimming, visit ArizonaWildcats.com or follow @ArizonaSwimming on Twitter.
1. Cory Chitwood - 1:39.66
15. Michael Sheppard - 1:43.66
14. Giles Smith - 43.45
3. Kevin Cordes - 1:51.97
4. Carl Mickelson - 1:52.18
11. Kevin Munsch - 1:54.95
12. Austen Thompson - 1:54.99
1. Ben Grado - 487.25
400 Free Relay
6. Smith, Friedemann, Wyman, Small - 2:53.61
2012 NATIONAL CHAMPIONS
200 medley relay: Small, Friedemann, Cordes, Smith
400 IM: Austen Thompson
100 breast: Kevin Cordes
200 back: Cory Chitwood
Platform Diving: Ben Grado
Adam Small - 200 free relay, 50 free, 200 medley relay
Kelley Wyman - 200 free relay, 400 medley relay
Mitchell Friedemann - 200 free relay, 400 medley relay, 200 medley relay, 100 back
Tommy Gutman - 200 free relay
Matt Barber - 500 free, 800 free relay
Austen Thompson - 200 IM, 400 IM, 200 breast
Woody Joye - 200 IM, 100 fly, 800 free relay
Cory Chitwood - 200 IM, 800 free relay, 200 back
Ben Grado - 1m, 3m, Platform
Kevin Cordes - 400 medley relay, 200 medley relay, 100 breast, 200 breast
Giles Smith - 400 medley relay, 200 medley relay, 100 fly
Carl Mickelson - 100 breast, 200 breast
Kevin Munsch - 100 breast, 200 breast
Cameron Owen - 800 free relay
Michael Sheppard - 200 back
FINAL TEAM STANDINGS
1. California - 535.5
2. Texas - 491
3. Stanford - 426.5
4. ARIZONA - 396
5. Michigan - 271