By: Victoria R. Percherke & Aiyanna Bartley
Sports Editor & Staff Writer
Senior geography major Thomas Leckrone plays a major role in the success of UMW’s varsity men’s swimming team. This is not only because he’s a team captain—Leckrone is currently the team’s only male swimmer from the class of 2022 that is able to compete.
Since senior swimmer and history and economics major Jonathan Zwemer suffered a shoulder injury that required surgery, he is out for the remainder of the swim season, leaving Leckrone as the only senior male swimmer.
“It’s very odd; I’m the only male senior swimmer on the team who is able to compete,” said Leckrone. “So leading the team and keeping things in line has been a bit different than I imagined. I’ve always had a full class of senior guys to look up to as role models, but now that it’s just me I feel all the eyes on me … and notice the pressure to perform but also to be the one the underclassmen are going to look to for leadership and guidance.”
Leckrone began swimming when he was about five years old during a summer league swim team. However, it was not until college that he became truly passionate about swimming.
“Swimming helps me focus on things such as school and my personal life because, like other forms of exercise, it’s a great way to get your mind and body to relax and let go of the day’s stress. It’s mostly a big stress reliever, which helps me focus on the important things,” said Leckrone.
Leckrone began his college swimming career as a freshman in 2018. That year, he became the Coastal Athletic Conference Rookie of the Year. Leckrone also made the First Team All-CAC in the 200 medley relay in 2019 and 2020.
“Thomas is one of our team captains and is very passionate about the sport,” said Sydney Hall, a senior swimmer and biology major. “He pushes everyone to be the best they can in practice and makes sure to lead our cheers and get people motivated every meet.”
Leckrone is not the only member of his family to swim for UMW. Thomas’s brother, Jeffrey Leckrone, a 2019 alumnus, has two individual records and a relay record at the university. Leckrone’s passion for swimming stems from his older brother and role model, who he credits as the reason why he came to the University of Mary Washington for swimming.
Leckrone reflected on his last year on the team.
“I broke my collarbone last year so I didn’t get to swim [for a while],” he said. “This year, I’ve come back and have been getting around the same times I [had] my sophomore year which is great!”
He demonstrates his leadership by staying focused and setting an example for the men’s team.
“Thomas holds the entire women’s and men’s team accountable every day,” said freshman swimmer and undecided major Amanda Sheward. “He is always making sure teammates are on time, in the water at all times and having a good attitude. He is a stern leader.”
After almost two years of not competing due to the pandemic, the UMW swim team is back in the swing of things for the first time since the team won the 2020 Capital Athletic Conference Championship. Leckrone was a crucial part of the team’s 2020 win when he took first place in the 100-yard butterfly.
Leckrone gave advice for any students who wish to join the swim team.
“Focus, work hard, never let someone else’s thoughts and opinions affect you or change your own personal goals,” he said.
The UMW swim team competes again next semester on Jan. 8 in Saint Petersburg, Fla.