PHOENIX, Arizona, October 20. FIVE-star backstroke specialist Matt Thompson of the Class of 2009 is next up in our Swimming World College Recruit Rankings Profile series. Thompson is a strong swimmer hailing from Dallas who swims for the Mustangs and attends Jesuit College Prep.
Thompson, who updates his profile in the Swimming World College Recruit Rankings powered by Take Your Marks on a regular basis, already would have been a B finalist at the 2008 NCAA Division I Men's Championships in the 200-yard backstroke. He owns a time of 1:42.99 in the event, as well as four readouts that clear the U.S. Olympic Trials cut in the 100-meter back (55.57), 200-meter back (1:59.92), 200-meter IM (2:04.65) and 400-meter IM (4:26.41).
Additionally, Thompson has already cleared the 2008-09 Division I B cut in the 100-yard back (47.71), 200-yard IM (1:46.95) and 400-yard IM (3:50.24) along with his 200 back time.
So far, Thompson has narrowed his colleges of interest to Arizona, California, Georgia, Stanford and Texas.
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Where and when did you start swimming?
I started when I was about six years old at our country club, the Dallas Athletic Club. I just kind of got into it because my older sisters did it, and for me, it just stuck. I eventually started club swimming at about eight years old.
Who would you name as the most influential person and coach in your swimming career?
My long time coach, Mook Rhodenbaugh. I've been with him for about six years, and he's taught me so much about the sport and about myself. He brought me to where I am in swimming.
What, to this point, is your best moment in the sport and why?
I would say making the 2006 World Youth Championships at Nationals in Irvine and then going to the meet in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. I was 16, and it was my first international meet. It was also my first time to represent the U.S. and it was just an awesome experience. The U.S. team was really small, and so all of us became very close. Getting to meet swimmers from all over the world that I still see at meets is such an awesome opportunity. Rio was so much fun and our hotel was right on the beach. Also, each member of the U.S. team won a medal.
Walk us through a day of practice:
Usually I get up at around 5:30 and have morning practice at 6:00 for about an hour and a half. My mornings are usually not intense as our afternoons; I do a lot of descending and pull sets in the mornings. My next practice starts after school at 5:00 and goes until 7:30. Usually our Mondays are really tough and we have a circuit on Tuesdays, but besides that Mook really mixes it up. We do a lot of quality work and hardly ever have garbage yardage. I'd say I train a lot for 200's and IM.
What is your favorite set?
Anything that has a tough component of freestyle and then IM to supplement it. Something like 100's free on short rest and then a few 200's IM descend, multiple times.
What is your least favorite set?
Towards the end of practice when we all think we are done, and Mook tells us we have a long pull set with breath control.
What are your short-term goals?
To find a college first of all, then to do well and go best times at Short Course Nationals in Atlanta. Also to pick up a National High School Record at our High School Championships in February.
What are your long-term goals?
To win an NCAA title, make World Championships, and go to the Olympic Games.
How is recruiting going so far?
It's going well. The schools I have visited have all been a lot of fun. It's going to be a very tough decision for me. For me, so far, each school has had pros and cons and I think in the end it's going to be a place where I can look back on my trip and say, I can see myself there for four years.