Cavalier Corner

February 2018

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FEBRUARY 2018 31 cavalier profile CAITLIN COOPER Fourth-Year • Swimming & Diving At the UGA Fall Invite Dec. 1-3 in Athens, Ga., fourth-year Cait- lin Cooper became the first female swimmer in Virginia history to break 22 seconds (21.86) in the 50-yard freestyle en route to winning the event. "It's one of my top accomplishments," said Cooper, who is a three-time All-American and a four-time honorable mention All-American. "I was surprised I would be doing that time at midseason. After [new head coach] Todd [DeSorbo] got here, I was super optimistic and bought into his training. When I got to Georgia, I was excited to see where we all were at. "Setting a PR was great, but I'm really focused on what I can do at the ACCs and the NCAAs." Also at the UGA Fall Invite, Cooper swam a leg on the school- record breaking 400 freestyle relay team (3:12.06). Cooper was recruited by former UVA head coach Augie Busch, who left after last season and assumed a similar position at Arizona. Regardless of the sport, coaches invariably have their own ap- proaches, and that was the case at Virginia. "They have two different training philosophies," said Cooper, who won four events in a 177-123 victory over then-No. 7 Ten- nessee Jan. 5. "Now, we do a lot of speed training with short bursts. It's quality over quantity. We do shorter yardage than in the past. "Transitioning from swimming to resistance [training that increases muscle strength by making muscles work against a weight or force] has helped us build strength and power." Cooper was recruited by Arizona, North Carolina and Texas, and made official visits to those schools. But she made an un- official visit to Virginia, which meant Cooper and her mother, Debbie, had to pay for their plane fare from their hometown of Atlanta. "I came to UVA between two official weekend visits," Cooper said. "The deciding factors were the environment UVA has and that it's an extremely happy place. "I walked around the Grounds with one of the girls on the team and then watched practice for 30 minutes. They were super welcoming and having fun on the pool deck." — Mike Scandura Photo by Matt Riley/courtesy UVA

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