When Jacintha Thomas not only won the diving state title in November, but shattered the state record, college coaches started to call.
Eventually, University of Iowa diving coach Todd Waikel was on the other end of the line talking to Thomas, the West High senior who won state with 561.10 points. The previous record was 535.70 points set in 1982.
Thomas went on a recruiting visit in late January and made her decision shortly after.
She signed her National Letter of Intent to become a Hawkeye in front of coaches, teammates and others on Wednesday in the West cafeteria.
“Before state I had no idea of where I wanted to go, and after state, I still had no idea,” Thomas said. “More coaches started contacting me after state, so I had a couple places I thought about. Talked to Todd and he asked me to go on a recruiting trip and I agreed.
“Everyone is just really friendly (at Iowa). I got along with the team really well, they were inviting and they’re a lot of fun to be around.”
Thomas progressed each season for the Women of Troy.
She finished 24th at the state meet as a freshman, fourth as a sophomore and second as a junior.
West coach Rob Miecznikowski said he knew Thomas could be a Division I diver following her junior year performance at state, but noted Thomas’ dominance in her final campaign this past winter.
“This year, some of the dives she was doing from the get-go were difficulties that nobody else was looking at doing or touching,” Miecznikowski said. “That’s really what pushed her over the edge.
“She not only won state, but broke the state record. There are divers that have been through there that are world champion divers. There’s a litany of amazing divers that have come out of Iowa. It’s nice that she has her name on the board with those people.”
Thomas is excited to walk onto the diving board as a Hawkeye.
“Diving D-I is a big accomplishment,” Thomas said. “When I was younger I had never dreamed of being a college athlete, especially D-I, but now that I’m doing it, I feel good about my decision.”