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Kentucky promotes Jorgensen to head swim coach

Lars Jorgensen, Kentucky's new swimming and diving head coach
Lars Jorgensen, Kentucky's new swimming and diving head coach

Lars Jorgensen will take over as head coach of the University of Kentucky swimming and diving program, Athletics Director Mitch Barnhart announced Tuesday.

Jorgensen, who served as the team's associate coach this past season, replaces Gary Conelly, who retired in April after 22 years on the job.

"It's a dream of mine to be the head coach at the University of Kentucky," Jorgensen said in a UK news release. "I know we can be very successful here. We have a lot of work to do, but this past year we laid the foundation for future success as we have a really good recruiting class coming in. I think we're going to have a lot better team next year and in the years to come."

Jorgensen, a native of San Diego, Calif., brings an extensive Southeastern Conference background to the UK job.

He swam for Tennessee and was an interim head coach there before arriving at Kentucky. He also was an assistant coach at LSU. In between those stops, Jorgensen was a two-time Mid-American Conference Coach of the Year during eight seasons at Toledo

"We want to consistently perform in the SEC and at the NCAA level," Jorgensen said. "We want to lay a foundation built by work ethic and toughness. If we do the little things, then we're going to be competitive, and that's our goal."

As a swimmer, Jorgensen represented the United States in the 1,500-meter freestyle at the 1988 Seoul Olympics, whe he finished ninth. He also won six U.S. national championships. In addition, Jorgensen holds the Ironman Triathlon record for fastest swimming time in competition history.

"During his year here, he has been impressive as associate head coach and as a recruiter and we believe he'll do an outstanding job in his new role," Barnhart said in the news release. "With his success as head coach at Toledo, as an assistant at LSU and as a student-athlete, assistant coach and interim head coach at Tennessee, Lars has the ability, experience and desire to succeed at Kentucky."