Today: May 29, 2024

Senior swimmer competes at Olympics

Andrew Anastasio Sports Reporter –

After being named the winner of the 2012 NCAA Division II Women’s Swimmer of the Year award, Owls senior swimmer Amanda Thomas qualified to compete for a spot on the U.S. Olympic Team this past Summer.

“It was a really good experience,” said Thomas. “I’m glad that I was able to go. It was nice seeing other competitors there and actually being one of the top athletes in the country. I thought it was really fun. I didn’t do as well as I wanted to, but it was probably one of the best experiences of my life.”

Growing up in Oakville, Conn., Thomas began swimming competitively when she was a small child. Despite being “afraid” of the water, Thomas said she began swimming because she wanted to follow in her older sister’s footsteps.

“I hated the water,” said Thomas. “But then my older sister started to swim competitively, so I kind of wanted to be like her.”

Since her arrival to Southern in 2009, Thomas has accumulated numerous awards. She was crowned Northeast-10 Conference champion in the 200-meter Individual Medley in both 2010 and 2011, while also achieving NCAA national champion recognition in the same event this past season. Head coach Tim Quill said having an athlete such as Amanda on his team has been an honor.

“She’s a great role model because she has a very strong work ethic,” said Quill. “She definitely puts the time in and because she puts the time in and works hard at it, she gets something out of it. She keeps her goals realistic and isn’t afraid to work toward them. Fortunately for her, she’s seen the payoff.”

Thomas has joined a list of several former Owls who have competed the Olympic trials. Quill said when he became aware of Thomas’ accomplishment he was amazed.

“What I got out of it was that it legitimized her as a swimmer,” said Quill. “There are a lot of athletes out there that can do incredible things in the yards pool, but to be able to do it in meters in the Olympic size 15-meter pool I think is something really special. Not everyone was meant to be a great long course swimmer. For her to make that cut with 100 plus other ladies in this country I think really speaks volumes for the type of athlete she is.”

Not only has Thomas achieved first place finishes, she’s also broken two NCAA Division II records. Last season, Thomas broke the 200-Meter Individual Medley record when she posted a time of 2:00:09. She claimed the record in the 200-Meter Fly when she finished the event in 1:59.11. Thomas was also awarded champion in the 400-Meter Individual Medley when she finished in 4:16.25.

Assistant coach Matt Hurst said what makes Thomas so successful is her leadership qualities.

“A good leader leads by example and is someone who is willing to go up and beyond what is expected of them. They show people the right way to do things and the way they should be done, and that’s what Amanda does,” said Hurst. “Her teammates see what she does and see the success she has had, and they follow. She’s willing to push herself and the success is coming. When someone succeeds like Amanda, people want to emulate that, which is exactly what her teammates do.”


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