Andrew Elkadi ’23 (He/Him), Sports Editor
Before coming to Davidson College, swimming was a family affair back home in Manhasset, NY for senior Thomas Broderick. Broderick’s dad, who swam at Niagara University, continued to compete as part of the U.S. Masters Swimming program after college. “When I was three, or something like that, I went to one of his practices with him and just sat on the side and watched,” Broderick remembered, “I told him I wanted to get into it.” A few years later, Thomas’s younger brother and sister decided to take up swimming too. “I think they saw me and my dad doing it and they decided to get into it,” he said. Broderick realized that competing at the Division I level was an attainable goal during his junior year of high school. “Until my junior year, a lot of the kids around me were a lot faster than I was and it was a little bit discouraging,” he recalled. “But then I grew five inches and put on a ton of weight and everything just clicked.”
Davidson was always in the mix for Broderick as he was making his college decision early during his senior year. He took a recruiting trip to campus and was able to meet many of the older swimmers and start to build a relationship with the coaches. “Everybody was really welcoming,” Broderick said. After the trip, he began to envision himself as a Davidson Wildcat, and ultimately chose Davidson because “trying to convince coaches [at other schools] that they wanted me became less appealing. I wanted to go somewhere that I was wanted, and I haven’t looked back since.”
Since his first year at Davidson, Thomas credits his growth as a swimmer to the coaching staff. “[Assistant coach] Sarah Holman knows what practices are best for me and she’s always right, even if it’s something I don’t necessarily want to do,” he remarked, “she and [Head Coach John Young] always have my best interests in mind.” Thomas cites making finals at his first conference meet freshman year as his proudest collegiate swimming moment: “even though it’s not even close to my best swimming performance, proving to myself that I could finish the season strong was probably the proudest I’ve ever been at Davidson.” He also noted that performing well consistently since then has been a big source of pride.
Now in his final year on the Davidson swim team, Broderick believes that this team is the best that he’s ever been a part of. “All the classes below me are really quick,” Thomas explained, “and we’ve got great team camaraderie […] everybody loves being at practice every day and everybody likes hanging out.” He said he felt that team camaraderie had diminished since his freshman year due to the pandemic’s impacts, but that “we’ve taken it upon ourselves as seniors to make the team what it used to be when we were freshmen and the way it’s supposed to be.” He already feels the atmosphere around the team returning to how it was in the past and that has made him “the most excited to swim since his freshman year.”
This season, Thomas’s big goal is to win medals at the A-10 Championships in February. He also wants to see the rest of the team achieve what they want. “When I was a freshman, I thought it was all about dropping time and getting the highest possible place you can get,” Thomas explained, “but as I’ve gone through it, I’ve realized that relationships are the most important part and seeing the people around you succeed as well.” Broderick believes that the team has a real chance of having their best performance that they’ve ever had at the A-10 Championships, although he stressed that “the process up to that is the most important part – just enjoying it and having fun.”