COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. - U.S. Paralympics, a division of the U.S. Olympic Committee (USOC), today announced that Dave Thomas has been named Associate Director of Paralympic Swimming High Performance. Thomas will be based at USOC headquarters in Colorado Springs, Colo.
In this role, Thomas will direct the training and competition of the U.S. Paralympics Swimming National Team, a group that won 44 medals (17 gold, 14 silver, and 13 bronze) at the 2008 Paralympic Games in Beijing. Thomas will also lead U.S. Paralympics' athlete identification and development efforts in swimming.
Thomas was preceded in the position by the late Jimi Flowers, who died in a tragic climbing accident in July 2009. Flowers and Thomas were not only colleagues, but great friends. Thomas intends to continue to strengthen the Paralympic swimming program in the USA as well as the Resident Team Program that experienced great success in Beijing under Flowers.
"I'm excited about the opportunity to lead Team USA and the challenges ahead," said Dave Thomas. "Not only is this a tremendous opportunity for me as a professional, but it's an honor for me to be able to coach and support some of the best Paralympic swimmers in the world."
"Dave Thomas brings an incredible skill set and passion for the Olympic and Paralympic movement to this position and we are honored to have him joining our organization," said Charlie Huebner, Chief of Paralympics, USOC. "I know Jimi Flowers is smiling today because Dave is an outstanding coach, leader and friend who will demand excellence and continue to build Paralympic swimming in the U.S."
Thomas has more than 30 years of coaching and sport development experience with both Olympic and Paralympic athletes. Most recently, Thomas was a sport development consultant with USA Swimming, where he concentrated his efforts on growing swimming in grassroots organizations, conducting educational and instructional clinics and working as the liaison between clubs and the national office on governance issues. He also served as the team leader, head coach and assistant coach for countless Olympic and Paralympic major, international competitions.
From 1985-2000, Thomas was the men's and women's head swim coach and aquatic director at Augustana College in Rock Island, Ill. While there, he helped lead his team to numerous conference titles and top-20 national championship finishes and increased the program's all-time win percentage.
From 1983-1985, he held the position of assistant coach of the women's swim team for the University of Iowa, where he coached several sprinters to All-American status and helped recruit student athletes.
Thomas earned a Bachelor of Arts in physical education from the Western State College and a Master of Arts in physical education from University of Iowa.