BRIDGEPORT, Pa. — The Collegiate Water Polo Association (CWPA) looks back at the outstanding athletes, referees and coaches who made Hall of Fame caliber marks on the league.
A founding father of the current officiating structure in the Collegiate Water Polo Association (CWPA) and a Spring 2014 inductee to the league’s Hall of Fame, Thomas Tracey, IV, gave back to the sport by helping to found American Water Polo and overseeing the largest officiating corps in the country with the Collegiate Water Polo Association.
He joins former referee Paul Barren as the only individuals inducted into the Hall of Fame for service to the organization for roles beyond those of a a student-athlete or coach. Further, he becomes the first collegiate club player to garner honors as Tracey earned All-America honors as a member of the Villanova men’s water polo team under current Collegiate Water Polo Association (CWPA) Commissioner Dan Sharadin.
Under his watch, the quality and quantity of officials expanded not only in the CWPA, but nationally, as Tracey oversaw the recruitment, training and assignment of referees on both the collegiate club and varsity levels.
Tracey’s induction marked his fourth Hall of Fame nod as the past inductee to the Germantown Academy, Villanova University Athletics and Swimming Halls of Fame achieved exceptional results both during and after his intercollegiate days.
Among the best swimmers in Villanova and BIG East history, Tracey rewrote the record books and earned National recognition during his time as a member of the Wildcats’ swimming team from 1994 to 1997. He was a five-time All-America recipient, including three times in the 100 Backstroke (1995, 1996, 1997) and once in both the 200 Backstroke (1997) and 400 Medley Relay (1996).
The 1997 National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) Championships are what put Tracey and Villanova swimming on the map as he earned two top five finishes. In the 100 back, he finished with a time of 47.57 to earn third place in the event. He followed it up with a fifth place finish in the 200 back with a time of 1:44.40.
In addition to his achievements at the NCAA Championship, he notched record breaking performances at the BIG EAST Championships. In 1996, he shattered the BIG EAST meet record in the 100 back with a time of 47.81. His other individual BIG EAST win came in the same event a year earlier, 1995, with a time of 48.03.
Along with his individual championships, he contributed to four different relay teams that won BIG EAST Championships. In 1995, he swam the first leg of the 200 medley relay, which finished with a time of 1:31.64. The Wildcats also won the 400 medley relay from 1994 to 1996 as Tracey headed the team.
In his final season of 1997, he established school records in the 100 (47.44) and 200 (1:44.26) backstroke. In addition, he was also part of all five of the relay teams that have recorded the fastest times in school history. He swam the first leg in both the 200 and 400 medley relays and was the final swimmer in the 200, 400 and 800 free events that hold Villanova records.
He served as the Aquatics Director and water polo coach for Wilson School District in West Lawn, Pa. prior to returning to the CWPA in the Summer of 2015 as the league’s Assistant Commissioner.