SCAD Freshman Joel Thatcher Sets NAIA Record in 500 Free

2017 NAIA National Championships – Men’s Meet

Tonight, SCAD freshman out of Ohio Joel Thatcher set a new NAIA meet record in the 500 free with 4:20.35. That time would have been fast enough to win him an NCAA DIII championship last season or to take third at the 2016 NCAA DII Championships. Prior to a particularly quick 2016, Thatcher’s swim would have been fast enough to win a DII championship title in any previous season.

Thatcher’s swim tonight took down the previous record of 4:21.49 set by his senior teammate Joel Ax in 2016. Ax has dominated this event in NAIA national competition since his freshman year, winning event titles in 2014, 2015, and 2016. However, the team opted not to swim him in the event tonight.

This time was a personal best for Thatcher by over six seconds. His previous best was a 4:26.62 from last year’s Junior Nationals.

You can see Thatcher’s splits from tonight below:

  • 23.66/25.70 (49.36)
  • 26.08/26.50 (52.58)
  • 26.35/26.53 (52.88)
  • 26.21/26.75 (52.96)
  • 26.54/26.03 (52.57) = 4:20.35

It’s worth noting that the NAIA tracks meet records, but not national records, so tonight’s NAIA record is actually a “meet record.” However, as far as we could find, it is the fastest time in history by an NAIA swimmer during college competition.

“The National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics (NAIA), headquartered in Kansas City, Mo., is a governing body of small athletics programs that are dedicated to character-driven intercollegiate athletics.

In 2000, the NAIA reaffirmed its purpose to enhance the character building aspects of sport. Through Champions of Character, the NAIA seeks to create an environment in which every student-athlete, coach, official and spectator is committed to the true spirit of competition through five core values.”

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Swim Mama
5 years ago

Let me be the first to congratulate this young man. Great accomplishment and really fun to watch too!

About Hannah Hecht

Hannah Hecht

Hannah Hecht grew up in Kansas and spent most of her childhood trying to convince coaches to let her swim backstroke in freestyle sets. She took her passion to Morningside College in Sioux City, Iowa and swam at NAIA Nationals all four years. After graduating in 2015, she moved to …

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