Taking Stock: What Arizona Wildcats Swimming and Diving Looks Like Under Coach Ben Loorz

Taking Stock: What Arizona Wildcats Swimming and Diving Looks Like Under Coach Ben Loorz

Taking Stock: What Arizona Wildcats Swimming and Diving Looks Like Under Coach Ben Loorz

The offseason is here, with all Arizona sports wrapped up for the 2023-24 season and the 2024-25 campaigns still a little ways off.

Which makes this a good time to take a step back and see how all of the Wildcats programs are doing, especially with the impending move to the Big 12 Conference.

Over the next few weeks we will be taking a look at each of the UA men’s and women’s sports programs to see what shape they are in and what their outlook is for the near future. We’ll break down each team and evaluate how they’re performing with their current coaching staff, looking at the state of the program before their arrival and comparing it to the current one, while also looking at the upcoming debut in the Big 12 and beyond.

Next: Ben LoorzSwimming and diving program.

As seen before

Arizona’s men’s and women’s swimming and diving programs for decades were one of the best in the country, consistently achieving top-10 finishes at the NCAA championships. The school’s success in the pool culminated in 2008, when the Arizona men and women won national championships under the direction of the coach. franco busch.

Since Busch resigned in 2011, Arizona has gone through two coaches and neither has come close to replicating his success. Eric Hansen He resigned in 2014 after less than three full seasons on the job. His successor, Augie Busch, son of Frank Busch, never matched his father’s success. arizona athletic director Desireé Reed-François fired Augie Busch after the 2023-24 season and replaced him with Ben Loorzformer UNLV head coach.

Where are things now?

Loorz has only been on the job for a few weeks, having been hired a month ago. His time at UNLV partially overlapped with Reed-Francois’ tenure as UNLV AD. He led the UNLV men to four consecutive conference titles, while the women’s program tied a record last season for all-conference performers.

Loorz inherits an Arizona men’s program that finished 32nd at the NCAA Championships and a women’s program that recorded no NCAA points. Loorz will have to replenish Arizona’s roster for next season as she builds a coaching staff. Newly named Arizona Peter Richardson as associate head coach. Richardson was an assistant at Arizona from 2019-2022 before spending the last two seasons at USC.

It is unclear whether Loorz will hire other assistants, including David Dumais, Amanda Barba and Roric Fink.

What life should be like in the Big 12

Arizona enters a Big 12 Conference that is decidedly weak in swimming and diving. Only seven Big 12 programs have a men’s program, while 10 teams compete on the women’s side.

ASU is the reigning men’s national champion but lost its head coach Bob Bowman to Texas after the season. ASU and Utah were the only Big 12 programs to score points in both the men’s and women’s NCAA championships this season. Arizona should compete near the top of the conference, but that’s not saying much.

a great question

How well will Loorz be able to recruit? Over the course of a decade, Arizona went from a destination program for top swimmers and divers to almost an afterthought in the sport. For much of that same period, ASU emerged as one of the best programs in the country, largely because it had Bowman as its head coach. Loorz will want to tap into Arizona’s vast alumni group (no pun intended) to understand what made the program so great in its heyday and what needs to happen to regain some of that success. Loorz has clearly shown that he can recruit and coach well at the mid-major level, but he remains to determine how well that will translate to the Arizona position.