SCAD Savannah Gets Verbal Commitment from Ohio’s Joel Thatcher

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SCAD_m_Thatcher cartoonWith his verbal commitment announced via a cartoon featuring his alter ego “Big Nose Man,” Ohio’s Joel Thatcher will be heading south to swim for The Savannah College of Art & Design in the NAIA next fall.

Thatcher is a senior at Mason High School, and was an integral part of the Comets’ 10th place team finish at the 2015 Ohio State High School Division I Championships last February. Thatcher finished 14th in the 200 free and fifth in the 500 free, and swam a leg on Mason’s fifth-place 400 free relay. He also swims under head coach Ken Heis at the Mason Manta Rays, where he has had a huge breakthrough over the last two years. This past summer, in particular, was one of giant strides; Thatcher earned Junior Nationals cuts in the 200m, 400m, and 1500m freestyles as well as the 400m IM.

Below are the progressions in his best events:

200m free 1:54.08 2:00.12 2:08.28
400m free 4:03.75 4:09.85 4:23.87
1500m free 16:08.54 16:50.08 17:38.25
400m IM 4:35.61 4:46.69 5:05.13
200m fly 2:08.13 2:17.32 2:26.75
200y free 1:41.33 1:44.76 1:49.63
500y free 4:29.95 4:39.70 4:45.55
1650y free 16:08.17 16:10.86 16:24.39
400y IM 4:00.47 4:04.61 4:20.73

Thatcher will fit nicely into the SCAD middle-distance group headed by NAIA national record-holder Joel Ax; the two Joels will have a year over overlap before the younger Thatcher will be counted on to take the reins. SCAD competes in the Bluegrass Mountain Conference, a swimming-only, coach-led conference dominated by Division II powerhouses Queens and Wingate and Division III powerhouse Johns Hopkins. Thatcher’s best 500 free and 400 IM would have made the A finals and his 200 free would have been B final-worth at the 2015 BMC Championships.

Thatcher took official visits to BYU, TCU and Miami (Ohio), but said he couldn’t pass up an opportunity to be an “artist-athlete” at SCAD while training under former World Champion sprinter Bill Pilczuk. “I think you can count on my starts getting faster!”

If you have a commitment to report, please send an email to [email protected]


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Chad Patterson
7 years ago

Joel was on my trip to BYU, great kid and a hard worker! Good luck dude!!!

About Anne Lepesant

Anne Lepesant

Anne Lepesant is the mother of four daughters, all of whom 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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