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Inside The Ua Athletes: Swimmers live life in the fast lane

Chris Coduto/Arizona Daily Wildcat
Arizona swimming and diving team members Darren Maxwell (back) and Matt Bisordi both drive Mustangs - cars the two enjoy driving. The two and roommate Jonas Persson, who is also on the swimming team, live far off campus in a spacious four-bedroom house.
By Roman Veytsman
Arizona Daily Wildcat
September 13, 2005
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From a Red Dragon to their red tag, sophomores Darren Maxwell and Jonas Persson and junior Matt Bisordi of the Arizona men's swimming and diving team have more to them than just being normal guys in Speedos.

When they get those precious seconds away from the pool, they want nothing to do with almost anything water-related, except for maybe a late-night dip in their hot tub.

Living far off campus in a spacious, four-bedroom house in east Tucson, these guys are all about transportation. The "Red Dragon" is the name Persson's roommates have given to his scooter.

"It's going on (MTV's) 'Pimp My Ride,'" Persson said.

The scooter can reach speeds of up to 70 miles per hour when going downhill.

"It's pretty scary when you go fast on a scooter," Persson said. "If I crash it, I will have a ticket back to Sweden (his home country)."

Persson recalls an imposing guy on a Harley-Davidson motorcycle pulling up next to him and waving, and that was when he knew the Red Dragon had made it as a legitimate vehicle.

Bisordi and Maxwell both drive Mustangs, but other than setting aside a little time to install basic audio equipment, they don't have long to work on their cars, what with those pesky 5 a.m. runs.

"It's a lot harder to work on these newer cars, especially when you don't have tools," Maxwell said. "I had an older Mustang, and you could work on that pretty easily, so that was my hobby for a while."

Once in their cars, though, they get the music - mostly a variety of hip-hop - blasting.

"We listen to 50 Cent, Eminem, Trick Daddy, Nappy Roots," Bisordi said of the trio's most popular music choices.

"There's always gangster rap in this house," Persson said. "It's terrible."

Persson listens to soft rock like Coldplay and Swedish music, although he denies listening to the Swedish band ABBA.

Maybe if Persson had been allowed to play his Swedish music at parties, the trio's house would not have received a red tag from the Tucson Police Department for what was supposed to be a small gathering.

"Fifteen people, plus or minus a hundred," Persson said.

Fast in the pool, fast on the road and living in the fast lane, speed is what these swimmers are all about.

Oh, and by the way, they're still looking for a fourth roommate.


On coming to the United States to swim:

Persson: "I had a friend who went here for five years, so he recruited me. He was also on the swim team."

On the cultural adjustment:

Persson: "It's big. Especially the language. That's probably the biggest part, because you don't know how to express yourself all the time. Culturally, you can see everything on TV, so you know how it's going to be when you come here. Europe is Americanized."

On teasing Persson about his accent:

Maxwell: "We do it all the time. He gets the ladies with the accent."

On getting into swimming:

Maxwell: "My parents got me into it when I was about 7. I started getting better when I was in high school, mainly. I walked on to this team. It's the chance of a lifetime."

Bisordi: "Me and my little brother would always be at my sister's gymnastics practices, and we would always be fooling around on the side. The (Arizona) diving team worked out there, too, and they asked if we wanted to start up. I went to two practices, and that's how I got started."

Persson: "I started swimming at, like, 6, and (people) thought I was good, so I kept going. I wasn't that tall when I was kid. I started growing when I was 16.

On not wanting a pool in the backyard:

Persson: "After spending 25 hours a week in the pool at the U of A, you're kind of tired."

On the training schedule:

Maxwell: "It's pretty rigorous. On a normal day, we'll have a morning workout at 6, swim for a couple of hours. Tuesdays and Thursdays, we'll do weights - every day from 2 to 4:30 or 4:45, sometimes longer. Saturdays, (we have) pretty long practices, around four hours."

On the toughest part of being a student-athlete:

Persson: "To keep your focus all the time, because if you don't do good in school, you can't swim. To try to find the balance between swimming and school, it's pretty hard."

On the biggest misconception of athletes and academics:

Persson: "If you go to school and swim, it's like having two full jobs. It's good that the teachers see that we actually don't have a lot of time to study."

Bisordi: "We pretty much get the same treatment. If we have a meet, then we'll be excused."

Maxwell: "You still don't get out of anything. It kind of sucks because you might miss a few days of school during a pretty big time, like the Texas Invite. You miss the time right around finals, and they don't let you get out of any of it. You have to make (the work) up or do it on the road. If you do it on the road, you have to do it at the meet, which is pretty rough because you have to focus on your meet and you have to actually think about school, too."

On living together:

Bisordi: "Darren's sister was on the dive team at Texas, so that's how I got to move here. I didn't actually meet him until I got out here."

Maxwell: "My sister called me and said he was going to transfer. She said he was real cool, so it worked out well, because me and Jonas decided we were living together and we needed more roommates."

On surfing, one of Maxwell's hobbies:

Maxwell: "I started when I was 13 and I go to Santa Cruz a lot. It's a lot of fun. Best free fun you can have."

On wearing Speedos:

Bisordi: "I hate it. When I was 10, I almost quit because of them."



Persson: 50-yard, 100y and 200y freestyle

Bisordi: 1-meter and 3m platform diving

Maxwell: 100y and 200y butterfly


Bisordi: Mountain View, Calif.

Maxwell: San Jose, Calif.

Persson: Malmo, Sweden


Bisordi: 5-foot-7

Maxwell: 5-foot-10

Persson: 6-foot-5


Maxwell: Communications with a

minor in business

Bisordi: Communications with a

minor in business

Persson: Pre-business


Other Sports:

Bisordi: Basketball

Persson: Soccer

Maxwell: Basketball, racquetball, surfing


"Anchorman," "The 40-Year-Old Virgin," "Dumb and Dumber," "Old School," anything with Will Farrell, "Napoleon Dynamite"

TV shows:

Persson: soccer channels, "Seinfeld " - "not the Cartoon Network. "

Bisordi: "Everybody Loves Raymond,"

"Family Guy," sports - "I'm a big Niners, Giants and Warriors fan. As soon as football season starts, I'll be on the couch."

Maxwell: Sports, "Seinfeld," "Family Guy," "That '70s Show."

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