U.S. Champ! - Tucson News Now

U.S. Champ!

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TUCSON, AZ (Tucson News Now) -

Arizona Wildcats swimmer Kevin Cordes won the Men's 200 meter backstroke event tonight at the Phillips 66 U.S. National Championships.

By winning Cordes qualified for the World Aquatic Championships in Barcelona, Spain in mid-July.

The Arizona junior won with a blistering time of 2:08:34. Cordes was on a pace to break the world record time  (2:07:01) for much of the race but fell short in the end.

Cordes is coming off an American record performance at the same venue just a few months ago at the NCAA Championships. He clocked a 50.74 and 1:48.68 in the 100-yard and 200-yard breaststroke events, and posted an unheard of 49.6 relay split in the 400 medley relay as well. Cordes also nearly took down the American record of 2:07.42 held by Eric Shanteau since 2009. Meanwhile, former Wildcat Clark Burckle turned in a fourth place finish in the event with a time of 2:11.70.

This is the first National Championship for the suburban Chicago native. He also expects to be a contender in the 50 meter and 100 meter breaststroke events.

Several other Wildcats had strong showings on Wednesday evening as rising sophomore Bonnie Brandon came away with a solid fifth place performance in a stacked field in the 200 back with a time of 2:10.24. Another rising sophomore, Emma Schoettmer, made her presence felt in the 200 breast as she won the B-Final in 2:28.48 to finish in ninth place overall.

A pair of Wildcats earned top finishes in the 50 fly as volunteer assistant coach and Olympic Gold Medalist Matt Grevers placed second with a time of 23.50 and rising senior Giles Smith came in fifth in 23.96.

On the women's side, Christine Magnuson, who trains at Hillenbrand Aquatic Center with Tucson Ford Aquatics, swam a blazing 26.08 to win the 50 fly and almost assuring herself a spot on the national team.

The event continues tomorrow with the 400 IM, 100 fly, 50 breast and 50 back. 

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Arizona Athletics contributed to this story.

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