Western Kentucky University swimming and diving head coach Bruce Marchionda announced a title change on his coaching staff, as Brian Thomas is elevated to associate head coach after three years as WKU’s assistant coach.
“Brian has done an outstanding job on the pool deck and on the recruiting side of things,” said Marchionda. “His attention to details has served the program well. I am excited to reward Brian for all his hard work over the last three years.”
With the swimming program, Thomas works with the team’s freestylers, breaststrokers and IMers. Those swimmers were responsible for 11 school records and 38 top-five times in 2012-2013. Both the men and women’s team have seen success since Thomas’ arrival. Last season, the women’s team claimed the program’s ninth Sun Belt Conference Championship and will join the men’s team at the Conference USA Championships this season. The Hilltoppers finished second in a close battle with Southern Methodist University in the team’s first year affiliated with C-USA.
Thomas also serves as the program’s recruiting coordinator, as WKU’s recruiting classes have garnered high praise, including the 2012 men’s class ranking No. 22 in the country by CollegeSwimming.com.
Outside of the coaching realm, Thomas serves on the Kentucky Swimming Board of Directors, which is the local governing body for USA Swimming. Along with that role, Thomas is involved in a fellowship program with the American Swimming Coaches Association, a program intended to get young coaches involved in governance and leadership within the sport.
Before coming to WKU, Thomas was a volunteer assistant at Rutgers in 2010. Prior to joining the Rutgers staff, Thomas served as an assistant coach for the men and women’s swimming and diving program at his alma mater, the University of Connecticut. Throughout his two seasons at UConn, Thomas was the primary coach for the mid-distance and distance freestylers. During that time, Thomas guided the UConn distance crew to two varsity records, two NCAA “B” cuts and six top-16 finishes in the 1,650-yard freestyle at the 2009 Big East Championship, the most by any school in the conference. In addition to their success in the distance lane, UConn swimmers set 27 varsity records during Thomas’ tenure, posting a dual meet record of 28-6 and sending one swimmer to the 2008 NCAA Division I Championships.
In addition to his responsibilities with the swimming and diving program at UConn, Thomas also served as Head Coach and Director of Swimming Operations for The University Aquatic Club in Storrs, Conn., from 2005-2009. Over the course of four years, Thomas guided the USA Swimming club program back to prominence on both a regional and national scale. At UAC, Thomas’ athletes enjoyed many achievements, including a Connecticut Resident Record, a National Age Group Top-10 time, a Junior National and Short Course National qualifier and numerous Speedo Champions Series qualifiers.
Thomas, a four-year letterwinner at UConn, grew up outside of Boston, Mass., swimming for Bernal’s Gator Swim Club under the guidance of former U.S. Olympic Coach Joe Bernal and NCAA All-American Jay Craft.
This release was provided to swimswam by WKU Swimming and Diving.