Thornton Academy swimming and diving celebrates its 30th birthday in the 2019-2020 season. The Golden Trojans fielded its first boys and girls teams in 1989 under the leadership of Audrey Jones and Lisa Dussault. The program was directed by Peter Goulet for five seasons, until 1997. Since that time, the head coach for Thornton Academy swimming is former University of Maine standout Kathleen Leahy. Leahy has guided the boys team to 108 victories and the girls squad to 87 wins during her career. The 2017 boys team captured the Southwestern Maine Activities Association (SMAA) championship and finished fourth in the Class A state championship meet.
A number of outstanding female student-athletes have competed for the Maroon and Gold during the three decades of Thornton Academy swimming and diving. Versatile at both the long distances and the sprints, Katrin Wolfe won two SMAA championships during her career. Emily Puleio is the most accomplished freestyle sprinter in school history and won the 2010 SMAA title in the 50 yard event. Elizabeth Tangney is the most talented diver in girls program history and won that event at the 2010 league championships.
Thornton Academy boys swimming and diving has also featured a number of outstanding athletes in the past 30 years. Tyler Goulden used an extensive gymnastics background and won back-to-back SMAA and Class A state championships in 2011 and 2012. Chris Steward won six conference titles, a number matched by his brother Eli; both swimmers went on to compete for Wheaton College. Their teammate Joshua Roberts also won six individual or relay championships during his outstanding career at Thornton. In 2017 Eli Steward won the Class A state championship in the 100-yard butterfly and joined teammates Roberts, Daniel Roch, and Joe Vail atop the podium following the 400-yard freestyle relay.
The typical Thornton Academy boys and girls swimming and diving season consists of nine regular season meets prior to the championship season, which takes place in February. All boys and girls swimming and diving practices and home meets take place at the Northern York County YMCA in Biddeford. Participation in Thornton Academy swimming and diving is a five-day per week commitment with occasional regular season contests taking place on Saturdays.
Thornton Academy boys and girls swimming and diving is open to all interested participants, regardless of their level of experience. Student-athletes who meet Maine Principals’ Association qualifying guidelines earn the opportunity to compete in the Class A state championship meet held at the University of Maine and Bowdoin College in alternating years.