Converted Water Polo Player Thomas Reed to Swim for USC Trojans

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Thomas Reed, who until now has been primarily a water polo player at Bellarmine College Preparatory in San Jose, California, has verbally committed to swim for the University of Southern California beginning in the fall of 2016. Reed told SwimSwam, “I chose the University of Southern California because it offers top tier academics and athletics. I want to study business and the Marshall School of Business at USC offers an amazing business program. Along with this, the Trojan family will allow for me to have connections across the nation, for once you’re a Trojan you’re always a Trojan.”

Reed’s swimming career is arguably the shortest and most unique of any of the 573 commits we have written about during this recruiting cycle. For the last three years, Reed has trained for water polo 9 months a year and only taken to swimming during the three months of high school season. Through hard work and focus during his junior swim season last spring, Reed finished third in the 50 free and sixth in the 100 free at CIF’s Central Coast Section championship meet and qualified for the inaugural State Championships. Thereafter he began club swimming at Santa Clara Swim Club and competed in his first USA Swimming meet at Speedo Far Westerns at the end of July. He nonetheless picked up Winter Juniors qualifying times in the 50/100m freestyles and got a bonus cut in the 200 his first time racing the event.

His entire swimming experience, so far, is in five events:

50 free 21.11 24.32
100 free 46.05 52.60
200 free 1:57.16

It would seem that Reed hasn’t even scratched the surface of what he can do in the pool. This is a young man to keep an eye on; under USC head coach Dave Salo’s tutelage he could be a huge performer for the Trojans.

“I’m really enthusiastic about swimming now. I am playing for my water polo team and swimming for my club on the side so that I can finish out my senior water polo season with my teammates. Then it’s all head-in-the-water swimming from there preparing for the winter juniors I think Coach Salo understands the kind of athlete I can be, and I strongly believe that the dynamic of this program will keep me engaged and working hard to achieve my goals better than any other program in the country. I am a very ambitious and hardworking athlete, and I am more excited than ever to begin my journey as a USC swimmer. Fight On!”

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Joel Lin
5 years ago

Shades of Matt Biondi, who’d also focused more on water polo until late teens. Congrats to Reed, can’t wait to see what Dave Salo’s program can do for him.

Reply to  Joel Lin
5 years ago

He was always a swimmer. He just needed to commit to the hard work.

5 years ago

A Swim sprint-Water Polo combo is not that common but it does happen in high school where the two aquatics sports don’t overlap like they do in college. USC had an All American water polo player (Rex Butler) who swam very good 20.84/45.81 sprint marks at Coronado HS. UCLA, Cal and Stanford all have recruited water polo player who also were excellent in swimming.
Reed’s intriguing up-side is: if he can swim very good marks (including a 52.60 100 meters in long course and making the California State swim championships his first real year of competitive swimming) with rather minimal swim training, what could he do if he concentrated on just one sport?

5 years ago

Reminds me of when CMS (Division 3) recruited Alex poltash as a dual swim/water polo recruit and he was 20.8/45.9 in high school but had spent little time doing swim training. Ended up focusing on swimming at CMS and now goes 20.2/44.0/1:39.0. Polo kids can do it!

About Anne Lepesant

Anne Lepesant

Anne Lepesant is the mother of four daughters, all of whom swim/swam in college. With an undergraduate degree from Princeton (where she was an all-Ivy tennis player) and an MBA from INSEAD, she worked for many years in the financial industry, both in France and the U.S. Anne is currently …

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