Bonnie Brandon: Arizona Bound

Feature by Megen Donovan

TUCSON, Arizona, October 12. THE Arizona Wildcats swimming and diving program received a verbal commitment from Colorado senior Bonnie Brandon. Distance was not a factor when she considered her options for college. With the United States borders as her only limits, Brandon had no qualms considering schools that are a plane ride away. She went on three official visits, traveling to the final contenders, Arizona, Florida, and Georgia, ultimately choosing Arizona.

"It was a different experience being out there," Brandon said. "But it was really cool. I liked it a lot."

She looked for a school to give her a solid education in the kinesiology field. Aside from that, Brandon wanted to pick a school with a little prestige.

"I'm looking for a school that obviously has that major and a decent program for it and also that has other programs within the school that are really good for that school," she said. "It has something that it's known for."

Brandon enjoys the occasional activity outside of swimming. She is a normal teenager who enjoys watching TV shows such as Glee and NCIS. She likes to bake chocolate chip cookies. She goes hunting with her dad. She spends time rooting for her favorite hockey and baseball teams, Colorado Avalanche and Rockies, respectively.

One thing she liked about each of her recruiting trips is that they did team activities off campus.

"We did something that was team-involved and not just hanging out on campus," Brandon said. "We actually went out and did something. We went to a lake, or we went to a movie or something like that."

She does not let outside factors distract her from her sport, however. Mission Aurora Colorado Swimming head coach, Andy Niemann and Brandon have multiple goal meetings throughout the year to keep communication open between the two.

"We just talk about what kind of things she needs to be doing in practice, pace wise and technique wise, to get to those goals," Niemann said "She's well-rounded. She balances everything pretty well."

Niemann said that she narrowed it down to three excellent choices. However, he knew it was going to be a difficult choice but trusted that she would make the right one.

Niemann attributes her success in the water to her work ethic and stature.

"She's a hard worker, obviously to get to that level," he said. "She's also 6'2."

Coming off of what Niemann says is Brandon's best summer swimming, she made the National Team in the 200 backstroke and will be going to the Pan American Games next month. This young athlete is not looking for collegiate stardom, however, she will not settle for mediocrity.

"I wanted to go to a place where I knew I'd be challenged by other swimmers," Brandon said. "I want to be good and travel, but I don't want to be number one. I want to be someone you can see that improvement with…"

Brandon said her current training schedule and load is what will prepare her most for the transition into college swimming. Her club team has nine practices each week, including three double days. MACS workouts are geared toward distance and IM, along with weight lifting and dry lands.

"We definitely do train a lot and I think it has really been beneficial for my career in swimming," she said. "I think having longer practices and more practices help prepare me for college."

Her confidence in herself and her training are evident to her coach of about eight years. She does not let pressure negatively affect her performance in practice and at meets.

"Her biggest thing is, she loves to race," Niemann said. "I don't think she gets that nervous. I think she just enjoys the competition."

Brandon also recently appeared on the Morning Swim Show alongside host Peter Busch.

Bonnie Brandon – Morning Swim Show Appearance