On Campus: New York University Senior Brad Thornton

By Brian Savard

SELINSGROVE, Pennsylvania, September 18. THE On Campus series wraps up in the Big Apple with a look at New York University senior Brad Thornton.

If you look at the NYU swimming record book, you will find Thornton's name littered across many different events, ranging from backstroke to relays. Thornton competed at the 2007 National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) Division III Swimming and Diving Championships, where he swam in both relay and individual events.

Individually, Thornton took 16th in the 200 IM (1:55.26), 23rd in the 100 breaststroke (58.28) and 15th in the 200 backstroke (1:54.52). In the relay events, Thornton participated in NYU's 13th-place 200 freestyle relay (20.84 split), eighth-place 800 freestyle relay (1:43.87 leadoff split) and fifth-place 400 freestyle relay (45.67 split).

Thornton hails from Hastings-on-Hudson, N.Y., which stands just 23 miles north of NYU's campus. He currently is pursuing a bachelor's degree in sports management.

What is your favorite movie?
Borat

What one song psyches you up the most before a race?
Any 90's Love Music (I'm serious)

What is your GPA?
3.62

Activities on campus (other than swimming)?
Member of the "Tear it Up!" committee that works to promote sports at NYU

Collegiate awards won (both academic and athletic)?
UAA Rookie of the Year 2005
Three-time NCAA All-American, six-time NCAA All-American Honorable Mention
Dean's List (Spring 2005, Fall 2005, Fall 2006, Spring 2006)
ESPN The Magazine/CoSIDA Academic All-Region At Large District 1 Second Team – 2007

Where do you see yourself five years from now?
In terms of my career, I'd like to be working within the sports industry. Going to school in New York City (and being a sports management major) I've had internships that sports fans would dream of and been able to volunteer at some amazing events throughout the city. I've really had a chance to get my foot in the door of such an exclusive industry, and I plan on capitalizing on that.

Athletically, I've begun to enjoy training for triathlons, and plan on satisfying my competitive nature by doing them often once my swimming career is over. No swim practice I've ever done compares with the feeling I get after cycling for 50 miles then running a 10k (a "brick" workout as they call it in triathlon lingo).

What made you choose the college that you attend?
Honestly, I was watching MTV my senior year around the time that college applications were due. A news report came in saying that the Olsen twins would be enrolling at NYU the following semester. Like any normal high school senior would do, I went online to NYU's web site and filled out the swimming questionnaire. A day or two later I was contacted by then assistant coach (now head coach at Steven's Institute of Technology) Trevor Miele. I spoke with Coach Miele at length about what NYU had to offer both academically and as a swim program and was impressed. I had been looking at institutions with a Sports Management program, and NYU seemed like the right fit. Looking back on it, I couldn't have made a better decision despite the Olsen twins no longer attending, and no I have not seen them.

At what point in your swimming career did you realize your talent as an elite swimmer?
Although I was a much better swimmer comparatively when I was 10 years old, it wasn't until my freshman year of high school that I realized I had a little bit of talent. After getting tired of swimming and taking my 8th grade year off, I joined a different club team (Boys and Girl Club of Northern Westchester Marlins). It was because of BGNW Marlins that I continued swimming. We worked hard but had a lot of fun at the same time. For the first time since I was 10 years old I was enjoying swimming again. I had my first "shave and taper" meet that first season when I was 14. I dropped unbelievable amounts of time. For example my 200 freestyle dropped from a 1:58 to a 1:49 that meet. Later that year I dropped some more time and qualified for the New York High School state meet, which was a big accomplishment for me at the time. From then on I focused more on swimming and put other sports such as cross-country and baseball on the side. I've been improving gradually since.

What are your goals for the 2007-08 season?
Most importantly, I'd like to have a lot of fun. We've got a great group of guys on the team this year and it makes it that much easier to work hard and enjoy it when I'm around them. This season I'd like our team to finish the dual meet season undefeated, qualify 8 or more guys for NCAAs, finish top 10 as a team there, and have our 400 free relay finish top 3.

Individually, I'd like to drop a few seconds in my 200 IM and have a legitimate shot at a national title.

What advice would you give to a high school swimmer with your talent looking at colleges?
First, don't focus too much on whether a school is Division I, II, or III. Second, choose the school that you think is the right fit for you, not where your parents, relatives, coach, etc want you to go. Third, pay for college yourself; I've learned more from doing that than I've learned in the past three years at school.

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