Today: Mar 01, 2024

Thomas wins National Championship in women’s swimmin

Sophomore Amanda Thomas won the NCAA Championship by winning the 200-yard Individual Medley.

Pat Longobardi, Sports Writer:
When Southern Connecticut State University swimming and diving head coach, Tim Quill, placed Amanda Thomas on the elite list with other great athletes in Southern’s swimming history, her legacy was forever signified.
“We had Ben Michaelson, who was considered the phenom in many eyes,” said Quill.
“Then, we had Division-I transfer, Kristen Frost, who won four NCAA championships. Then, there’s Amanda Thomas.”
Thomas, a sophomore and Oakville native, finished her magical season by winning the women’s 200-yard Individual Medley at the Division-II NCAA Championships at Palo Alto College Natatorium in San Antonio, TX, on Wed. March 9.
Thomas won at 2:00.88, .94 ahead of second place. Thomas’ time was .32 seconds off the NCAA record set by Kate Aherne, Truman University, at 2:00.56 at the 2010 NCAA Championships.
“In my freshman year, I got the feel for how nationals felt and I made progress. I got the feel for how fast nationals is, and that kept me motivated,” said Thomas.
In her first year at the championships, Thomas competed in five events. Thomas said last year, she had a tough season because she was not used to the competition level.
“I learned a lot and put that into my sophomore season,” she said.
Thomas competed in two other events, three total. Thomas came in second in the 400-yard Individual Medley at 4:15.59.
Thomas set an NCAA record, but finished second to Casey Hurrell-Zitelman, Incarnate Word Academy, who broke the NCAA record by almost two full seconds.
She came in second in the 200-yard Butterfly at 2:00.34, .26 behind the leader.
“It speaks volumes on her drive to be better, her willingness to change, and her dedication to the sport,” said Quill.
Southern’s women placed 15th with 96 overall points at the championships, won by Drury University for the third consecutive year.
Thomas continued her dominance in her conference, being named the most valuable swimmer of the 2011 Northeast-10 Conference Championships for the second consecutive year.
Thomas won all four of her events as a part of Southern’s eighth consecutive conference championship.
She also set conference records in the 200-yard Individual Medley at 2:02:50, the 200-yard Butterfly, along with an NCAA “A” qualifying time of 2:01.23, and in the 400-yard Individual Medley at 4:20.76. Thomas was also lead legs in the 400-yard and the 200-yard Medley Relays.
“At the beginning of the season, I was not happy with my times,” said Thomas. “By the conference and then the national championships, I was happy.”
“We do have to account her ability,” said Quill. “She understands what hard work is about.”
After winning a championship Quill said with spring workouts beginning this week, Thomas’ defining moment
is now.
“For her (Thomas) it is what do you want to do next year, and that starts now,” he said. “We (Southern) need to keep putting our best foot forward and win the conference for the university.”
Thomas said winning the national championship not only helps her, but helps the team as well.
“It (winning) is motivation, it does help me a lot,” she said. “I think it also keeps the team more motivated. It is definitely motivation to keep me going, and pushing me forward to just keep that (championship) in mind.”
“She (Thomas) is a legitimized prospect and what a team is all about,” said Quill. “We (Southern) take a great athlete and get them on the championship level. Amanda Thomas is all of that.”

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