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

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 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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