March 19, 2012

Mann, Cooper Set For Olympic Swimming Trials

Freshman Katie Mann
Freshman Oneida Cooper

DURHAM, N.H. – Freshmen Katie Mann (Prince George, B.C.) and Oneida Cooper (Johannesburg, South Africa) of the University of New Hampshire women's swimming and diving team are both scheduled to compete at the 2012 Olympic Trials for their respective countries this spring.

Mann, a native of British Columbia, will compete in the 200- and 400-meter individual medley and the 100- and 200-meter breaststroke events at the Canadian Olympic Trials on March 27-April 1 at the Olympic Park Pool in Montreal, Quebec.

Cooper is set to swim in the 100-meter butterfly, 100-meter freestyle, 200-meter individual medley, and 100- and 200-meter backstroke events at the South African Olympic Trials on April 16-22 at the Kings Park Aquatic Center in Durban, South Africa.

"We are really excited to have both Katie and Oneida participating in their countries' trials. It is definitely an honor for both them and for the UNH program," said head coach Josh Willman, who was recently named America East Coach of the Year for the 13th time in his career. "I think that building upon their great achievements at the America East Championships, they can both attain some personal bests and we are looking forward to seeing how they do."

Mann is coming off an outstanding freshman campaign as she broke a pair of records at the America East Championships and was named the Women's Most Outstanding Swimmer and Rookie of the Year for her efforts. It was the first time in conference history someone won both awards in the same year. Mann, who helped lead UNH to a third-place finish, broke the meet and league record in the 200-yard individual medley with a winning time of 2:01.32. She went on to set a school and conference record with a first-place finish in the 400 IM, timing in at 4:14.10.

Cooper had a hand in four top-5 finishes at the conference championships, including a third-place finish in the 100-yard backstroke, swimming in a time of 56.86. She also took fourth in the 200 IM with a time of 2:04.06 and helped the 400-yard medley relay team finish runner-up (3:46.22) and the 200-yard medley relay finish third (1:45.32).

UNH, which earned America East Coaching Staff of the Year for the third straight season, has produced multiple Olympic Trial qualifiers in recent years, including Kristen Zeimetz ('02), Amy Perrault ('11) and current senior Jessica Little.

"The Olympic Trials will be conducted in long course meters versus the short course yards format we are accustomed to in college meets. The challenge for them both will be to translate their great performances this past collegiate season to competing in long course meters; they are two completely different formats and distances," Willman said. "Like most swimmers, both women train long course during the summer seasons and we did have the opportunity to train long course at the beginning of the season at the Jenny Thompson Pool in Dover and then again when we trained over Winter Break in Arizona, so that will make for an easier transition."

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