American record holder Kevin Cordes, Chuck Katis, and Brazilian record holder Marcelo Chierighini are among the group of elite post-grad swimmers that will follow Sergio Lopez to Virginia Tech in the coming months, Lopez confirmed to SwimSwam Tuesday.
Lopez was hired to replace head coach Ned Skinner in April, marking his return to head coaching after three years of serving under Brett Hawke at Auburn; Hawke resigned in March, and was replaced by Gary Taylor. Directly before he was at Auburn, Lopez spent two years in Singapore as the high performance coach of the Singapore Swimming Association. While there, Lopez coached Cordes, who followed him to Auburn.
Lopez officially began work at Virginia Tech on June 1st, and has been back-and-forth between his new gig and Auburn as finishes out swim camp contracts.
Cordes and Katis will arrive in Blacksburg around July 4th after finishing the current training camp at the Olympic Training Center in Colorado Springs. They will prepare for summer Nationals at Virginia Tech.
Chierighini, a Brazilian Auburn alum who has swum for Pinheiros thus far in his post-graduate career, will leave the team and join Lopez’s squad in January. He will train with Pinheiros until the move – notably, teammate Cesar Cielo has signaled that he will likely retire at the end of the year.
Shane Ryan, who swam collegiately at Penn State but represents Ireland internationally, will make the move after the 2018 European Championships in August.
Taiwan’s Wu Chung Feng is already training in Blacksburg, preparing for the Asian Games in August. Veteran Miguel Molina, 34, will also join Lopez in January.
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