How Fast is Future NFL Hall of Famer Joe Thomas In the Pool?

by Lucas Hetzel 39

September 12th, 2019 Masters, News

Ex-Cleveland Browns left tackle (and probable future NFL Hall of Famer) Joe Thomas was recently featured by United States Masters Swimming for losing an incredible 60 pounds since retiring from the NFL two years ago, a feat that he attributes, in large part, to swimming. Restricted by five knee injuries and brutal Wisconsin winters, Thomas decided to pick up swimming as something low impact that he could do year-round.

Thomas was a two-time All-American offensive tackle for the University of Wisconsin before being drafted number three overall by the Cleveland Browns in the 2007 NFL Draft. He was also an NCAA National Championship meet qualifier in shot put for both the indoor and outdoor seasons for the Badgers in 2005. While playing for the Browns, Thomas played an NFL record 10,363 consecutive snaps and made 10 Pro Bowl teams. Always a fierce competitor, he is now looking for challengers in the water. He claims that his top-end speed is 30 seconds for a 25-yard freestyle, but judging by his turn in the video below, he could have a dangerous 50 in him.

In Cleveland, Thomas played with electric punt and kick returner Joshua Cribbs, who lettered in swimming in his time at Dunbar High School in Washington D.C. While Cribbs has the clear speed advantage over Thomas on land, a much-leaner Thomas could be gaining on Cribbs in the water.

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Love seeing this. Especially from a guy who at the pinnacle of his profession absolutely had to carry 300+ lbs in order to compete.

Jay Ryan

There is no way Joe swims at a 30 second/25 pace at max speed. Just looking at him swim he likely is cruising at a better pace (maybe 45-50 sec 50’s) when swimming distances at an easy sustainable pace. I would bet he could sprint a 50 (full speed) at between 30-35 sec. C’mon Joe, let’s see a sprint 50 in a followup post.!! Prove me right.


Had a high school football player doing rehab in our pool years back. He said “time me”. Timed him for a 25 free in 25 seconds. He says “I’m only four seconds off the school record”. I reply “yeah but that guy went down and back in 21 seconds”. He left without saying another word.


The year the Arizona Cardinals went to the Super Bowl (08 or 09 I think) they had a quirk in their schedule that had them training at our east coast campus for a week. After practice some of the players would swim as a recovery. The defensive backs would race 25s and I would time them. Rough technique but great off the blocks and incredible turnover. Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie was the best of the bunch, going 10highs and 11 lows off my watch.


Statistically there’s got to be a decent chance a Cromartie gene-d child ends up swimming.

Football Genius

Wrong Cromartie unfortunately, you are thinking of Antonio Cromartie


Aren’t they cousins? So the genes are still out there (numerously).

Steve Nolan

Different Cromartie! That one’s Antonio and I think he’s fathered a new child as I’ve typed this comment.


Outstanding story. Too bad phone video cams were not ubiquitous in 2008-09!

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