The top recruit in the class of 2014 out of Canada, and probably one of the top 10 recruits period, Noemie Thomas has decided to come to the United States to train collegiately, and specifically with the Cal Golden Bears.
“I am very excited to swim and represent the Golden Bears,” Thomas said of her decision. “Teri (McKeever) and Kristen (Cunnane) are the best match for me in terms of coaching and and personality. I felt so comfortable around the team and I know that at Cal I can reach my full potential both as an international swimmer and a young woman. I cannot wait to join the Bears next fall!”
Thomas is a butterflier extraordinaire. In long course meters, her best through the distances are 26.35, 57.96, and 2:11.43.
Her short course meters times show that she should translate extremely well to NCAA swimming, though she’ll have to get used to the slightly-shorter yards pool. In short course meters, she’s been 25.60 and 56.64, both of which are Canadian National Records, and took 4th in the 50 at the 2012 Short Course World Championships (including ahead of former NCAA butterfly stars like Christine Magnuson, Claire Donahue, and Triin Aljand).
In yards, her short course meters times translate to roughly 23.0, 51.0, and 1:56.0. Those sprint times are what’s really special: if the conversions hold up, it would make her an immediate contender for the NCAA championship.
Simply put, nobody currently in the NCAA has been faster than Thomas in the 100 fly in long course, and nobody has really even been close (as far as we can tell, Texas A&M’s Caroline McElhany with a 58.5 is the next-best among active NCAA swimmers).
Thomas only stands about 5’3″ tall, but in the world of butterfly swimming, height, while always an advantage, has not historically been quite the limiting factor that it might be in, for example, the sprint freestyles. As seen in this video, Thomas makes up for her height by being lightning-quick off the blocks and strong underwater. She also has a relatively high turnover as compared to many of her competitors, and her more compact frame allows for that without losing anything on her pull.
Among other bullet-points on Thomas’ resume:
- Broke the Meet Record at the 2012 Junior Pan Pacs in the 100 long course fly (58.68)
- 7th in the 100 long course fly at the 2013 World Championships
- Has set National Age Group Records in 11-12, 13-14, and 15-17, one of only three Canadians to set records in all three age groups: behind only the greats Alex Baumann and Brian Johns. Baumann and Johns both wound up as World Record holders.