Today: Jun 18, 2024

Amanda Thomas takes home two National Championships

amandathomas
Thomas was named Division II Women’s Swimmer of the Year, after winning two National Championships.

 PAT LONGOBARDISports Writer

Everyone knows to be the best, it starts with hard work.

After a successful reg­ular season and postsea­son in 2011, SCSU junior Amanda Thomas was of­ficially labeled a national contender.

This time around, not many can forget the name, as Thomas won two national championships at the NCAA Division II Women’s Swimming and Diving Championships in Mansfield, Texas.

“I kind of freaked out a little bit because of the pressure of the season,” Thomas said. “I kept it in the back of my mind. I stayed confident going in [to the championship meet]. I had a good mind­set and confidence in my­self. I was really excited.”

Thomas, from Oakville, Conn., was one of four Owls that qualified for the championship meet.

Thomas began on the second day of the championships and did not waste any time.

She won the NCAA Champion­ship in the 200 individual medley for the second consecutive year and set a new Division II record (2:00.09). Thomas then won her second con­secutive title in the 400 IM (4:16.25). She followed that race as runner-up in the 200 butterfly and with a third place finish in the 200 backstroke on the final day of the championships.

Last year, Thomas was the NCAA runner-up in the 400 IM and the 200 butterfly.

“She took her training to another level,” SCSU men’s and women’s swimming and diving head coach Tim Quill, in his 13th season, said. “She took last year and got a better understanding of the sport. She had her eyes opened lasted year that she can be a contender in multiple races. It helps to think more on what to improve upon and how to apply that at practice. She has become a better athlete and an educated athlete [this season]. She became more confident going into the national championships, and that was evident.”

Thomas competed in four events this year at the championships meet earning the 2012 NCAA Division II Women’s Swimmer of the Year, with two national titles. She ranked among the top going into each event.

Thomas later kept up her domi­nant season by earning a spot in the field for the 2012 U.S. Olympic Trials in Buffalo, N.Y. a week later. Thomas posted a time of 4:55.58 in the 400 meter IM event.

“It was a really tough situa­tion [Olympic trials],” Thomas said. “I did not know if I wanted to go to Buffalo because of the long drive and after a week that took a lot physically and mentally. I have wanted to make that cut for like my whole life. I have been there, but it never happened.”

The 2012 U.S. Olympic Trials are from June 25-July 2 in Omaha, Neb.

Thomas, from Watertown High School, is an Exercise Science/Hu­man Performance major at SCSU. During her collegiate career, Thomas has won three NCAA Championships, posted three runner-up marks and has earned 14 All-America honors.

Quill said the expectations were always high for Thomas, but she took them on throughout the year.

“The expectations were pretty lofty after being successful last year,” he said. “There was no doubt that she could win multiple titles. She wanted to be able to swim faster than those records She took a little of the competition aspect out and brought it down to terms like, ‘You might beat me, but you will have to break records too.’”

“Everyday at practice, I think I might as well work out,” Thomas said. “It is worth it through the effort leading up to it [competition]. Usu­ally I think about the next race or the next meet I have [after winning the national titles] and topping what I did next year.

“They [the team] do look up to me. I appreciate what they do for me. I will get text messages from all of the team that appreciated what I did, es­pecially throughout nationals. I have really good support.”

Quill said going into her senior season, the expectation level will re­main higher, but there could be one goal on the list to cement Thomas’ legacy at SCSU.

“The short term goal is the Olympic trials,” he said. “She is 62nd ranked and 67 make the cut. So she is the field. Her objective will be to perform better than she had for mak­ing the cut. It is a realistic goal. We have a very short turnaround. You need to train hard and put your best foot forward.

“Your senior year is more of a fun year. One goal could be that the most decorative swimmer [at SCSU] has four NCAA titles, and she [Thomas] already has three. She might want to be able to be able to say, ‘I won more than anyone in school history.’ That would be nice goal to have.”

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