Thomas twins sign to swim at Notre Dame, Naval Academy
BY SARAH SADIQ
The scholars and staff of Haas Hall Academy Fayetteville cheered as senior swimmers Martina and Luciana Thomas signed their contracts and became committed to highly ranked universities on Nov. 10. Martina Thomas was signed to the United States Naval Academy while Luciana Thomas signed with Notre Dame University.
But the Thomas twins’ achievements did not come easily. The twins have been practicing their sport since the age of eight. They come from a long line of swimmers, and they have had great expectations to live up to their brother. Antonio Thomas not only committed to swim at Missouri State University, but he also was the first Haas Hall Academy athlete to sign a letter of intent to a Division 1 school. Antonio Thomas was in attendance at his sisters’ signings.
“The process is really scary,” Antonio Thomas said, “but Martina and Luciana handled it very well.”
The sisters are currently part of Haas Hall Academy’s swim team and a club team known as the Aqua Hawgs. They first met their coach, Todd Mann, when they joined Aqua Hawgs. Mann attended the Thomas girls’ signing and listed the many accomplishments they have achieved over the years.
“If these girls had been around when I was a college recruiter, I would’ve been drooling over them.” Mann said.
The Thomas sisters practice almost every day of the week twice a day, once before school and once after. Their practice consists of several types of training, such as training for their specific swim stroke and weight training. They also attend several swim meets, which has allowed them to travel around the country, competing against other highly ranked swimmers.
“Martina and Luciana feel like they ‘get’ to swim, not that they ‘have to,’ and that is the difference between them and everyone else,” Mann said.
So, naturally, Haas Hall Academy wasn’t surprised when these two scholars were recruited by highly ranked universities. Both sisters were recruited by the University of Arkansas, Villanova University and other colleges.
The twins were given the opportunity, while they were touring different universities, to stay with a host student.
“It was really cool to spend time with the athletes and see how they interact with each other,” Luciana Thomas said. “When you tour a college you don’t get an actual feel for what it means to be a college student, but staying with a student allowed me to really get the college experience at different universities.”
Luciana Thomas’s top choice was Notre Dame University.
“At Notre Dame, they take academics very seriously and also swimming. I got to see the team dynamics and how they balance swimming well with school. That is what I was really looking for,” Luciana Thomas said.
The Thomas twins not only come from a long line of swimmers, but from military veterans as well. In order to carry on the tradition, Martina Thomas was looking to apply to the Naval Academy.
“My family has been part of different branches of the military for a long time, but no one has been a part of the Navy,” Martina Thomas said. “That really helped narrow down that choice for me.”
Thrilled when they recruited her, Martina Thomas went to tour the campus to cement her choice.
“I liked the Naval Academy better,” she said. “I was really looking for the military experience and a school that takes swimming seriously. The Naval Academy really fit my choice.”
After all the morning practices, swim meets and college tours, the Thomas sisters picked the perfect college for them. Though they have very big shoes to fill, the twins not only committed to highly ranked schools but manage to carry on the military family tradition as well.
“I have seen what these girls have accomplished,” Antonio Thomas said, “and I am very proud and lucky to say that I am their brother.”