4 Reasons to Believe In Olympic Rookie Kevin Cordes

Photo Courtesy: Peter H. Bick


Editorial Coverage Sponsored By FINIS

By Ashleigh Shanley, Swimming World College Intern

After a third place finish in the 100 meter breast at the 2012 Olympic Trials, Kevin Cordes has had four years to prepare for his return to the US Olympic Trials. In Omaha, Cordes won the 100 meter breast and finished second in the 200 meter breast to qualify for his first Olympic team.

Not only did Cordes qualify for Rio, but in the process he set the American record in the 100 meter breast with a sizzling 58.94.  Although we may know Cordes as one of Team USA’s most experienced breaststrokers, here are a few fun facts to know about Cordes before watching him light up the pool in Rio.

1. Cordes trained outside of the United States last year.


Photo Courtesy: Singapore Swimming Federation

After competing in the 2014 Pan Pacific Championships, Cordes decide to switch things up in 2015 and move to Singapore.  He trained under the watchful eyes of Spanish 1988 Olympic bronze medalist in the 200 meter breast, Sergio Lopez.   According to Cordes’ Team USA interview, Lopez has helped him transition from short course racing in college, to long course racing on international stages.  After training with Lopez, Cordes grabbed bronze in the 50 breast and silver in the 200 breast at the 2015 World Championships in Kazan, Russia.

2. Cordes has extensive experience in international competitions.

Photo Courtesy: Joao Marc Bosch

Photo Courtesy: Joao Marc Bosch

In 2012, Cordes represented Team USA for the first time at Short Course World Championships in Istanbul, Turkey. He competed in the 100 meter breast, as well as the 4×50 and 4×100 medley relays and came away from his first World Championships with a gold and a bronze.  The following year, Cordes also competed at the 2013 World Championship Meet in Barcelona, Spain and at the 2014 Pan-Pacific Swimming Championships in Australia. Cordes improves with every season– most recently earning a gold, two silvers and a bronze at last summer’s World Championships.

3. Cordes is an Arizona Wildcat alum.

Kevin Cordes NCAA champion

Photo Courtesy: Peter H. Bick

In 2011, after graduating from Neuqua Valley High School Cordes enrolled at the University of Arizona.  Cordes’ father was also an Arizona Wildcat student-athlete– he played football, and Cordes’ sister will be attending Arizona next year to play sand volleyball.  Cordes competed for the Wildcats for four years, before graduating with a degree in physiology in 2015.  While at Arizona, Cordes set the school and NCAA records in the 100 and 200 yard breast, and during his freshman year he was named the University of Arizona’s Male Freshman Athlete of the Year.  Not only does Cordes still hold the NCAA record in the 100 yard breast, but he was also a 13-time All-American during his four years as a Wildcat.

4. Cordes won NCAAs four years in a row.

kevin-cordes-arizona-ncaa-2015 (5)

Photo Courtesy: Andy Ringgold

During his career at Arizona, Cordes won the 100 yard breast at the Division I NCAA championship four years in a row. He is only the third swimmer to ever sweep an event for four consecutive years. Cordes not only won the event his freshman year, but set a new American record with a 51.32.  In addition to being undefeated in the 100 yard breast all four years, he also won the 200 yard breast at 2013 and 2014 NCAAs.  In 2013, he was also a part of Arizona’s American record-setting 4×100 medley relay in which he split a blazing 49.56.

With extensive experience in international competition, as well as a fire in his stomach after the 2012 Olympic Trials– Cordes missed the team by just a fraction of a second, the United States can be proud to watch him represent our country with his fellow breaststrokers Cody Miller and Josh Prenot.

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Melanie Loo
Melanie Loo
7 years ago

Absolutely! Love watching this guy swim. Such an inspiration to all the young breaststrokers.

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