The Thumann triplets — Cade, Cole, and Caitlin — arrived together at Colorado College as a family.
They added a second one by joining the Tigers’ swimming and diving program.
“Choosing to go to the same school was one of the best decisions that I have made,” says Cade Thumann ’22. “We have the same group of friends. All three of us have been close forever. It’s what we’re used to.”
There have been a few family connections over the years under Swimming and Diving Head Coach Anne Goodman James in her 13 years at CC. But it’s gotten even more notable over the past two years with two-thirds of a set of triplets competing for the Tiger women — Alma ’20 and Selma Jukic ’20.
James is pleased to have all three Thumann fraternal triplets in her program.
“[All three have] very different personalities but yet some of the qualities they bring have been so valuable to the team,” James says. “The way [Cole and Cade] support each other whether in training or competition is palpable. You feel it. The joy they take in each other’s success is really fun to watch. But you also see them bring that to the whole team. They are those people in practice who are encouraging everyone else, trying to lead the lane, being there when things are tough, and being a wild cheerleader when things go well.”
Though Caitlin isn’t currently cheering wildly from the water — the former high school swimming standout put her competitive career on hold due to shoulder injuries — she is a student assistant manager.
“I absolutely love the sport and it is a big part of my life, so I didn’t want to completely leave it,” Caitlin says via email while in Paris for a French philosophy course. “So, I decided to become the manager. Managing is a good job with good hours and good pay. Plus, I love the people and the coaches. If I ever decided to change my mind and join the team, I know that I am always welcome.”
The triplets have made their mark in academics and athletics.
Cade won the Southern Collegiate Athletic Conference men’s 500-yard freestyle after setting a school record in the preliminaries while Cole placed third in the league’s 400 individual medley finals and swam on the third-place 800 freestyle relay with Cade.
“They do it in different ways,“ James says. “Cade told me, ‘I want to be the fastest and most mentally tough swimmer out there.’ Cole wanted to bring positivity and set a great example. The more you get to know them, you see how that fits their personalities. [Caitlin] is a littler quieter. They’re all different.”
Schoolwork is important to all three. The brothers garnered league academic honors as first years and were part of the well-regarded program’s classroom success. The College Swimming & Diving Coaches Association of America named both Tiger squads to its Scholar All-America team for Spring 2019 —the 11th semester in a row for CC.
“At some point we both realized that if we joined [an NCAA] Division I program that swimming would be our life and that had already been our life in high school,” says Cole, referring to the lengthy high school and club practices required of aspiring college swimmers. “Academics are far more important to both of us. We knew we weren’t going to the Olympics but we both wanted to be part of a team experience in college athletics.”
“We’ve been doing it since we were 6 years old. We didn’t want to cut that out of our lives,” says Cade, a business and pre-med major. “Colorado College had exactly what we wanted — great academics and an up-and-coming swimming program that has a lot of potential. We could see ourselves getting better.”
Goodman James has found the right balance for success in and out of the pool at CC. She trimmed the standard twice-daily practices (four to five hours) to one intense session of about two-and-a-half hours. It’s paid off with all the men’s and women’s competitors recording personal records in 10 of her 13 years.
“If you look on our wall, the first set of plaques are for our swimming and diving All-Americans and our next set is Scholar All-Americans and there are a lot more of those,” Goodman James says. “It is something we take a lot of pride in.”
The Thumanns embrace that balancing act and the Block Plan.
“People might think it’s harder but it is a great way to detox every day,” says Cole, a physics major. “You have a set period of time saved for practice — clearing your head and grinding out any pent-up energy you may have from sitting in class for three hours. You get to socialize with your friends. It knocks so many things out at once.”
It also gives the athletes a chance to be an active part of the CC community. Cade is an accomplished singer in the co-ed a cappella group Room 46. Caitlin, who is studying molecular biology to become a physician’s assistant, performs in the femme and non-binary inclusive a cappella group Ellement. Cole works for the Office of Admission.
“At first, we were not planning on going to the same school, but towards the deciding deadline, we talked about it and said, ‘Oh, that would be cool if we went together,’” she says. “Now, three semesters later, I couldn’t imagine going to school without them. It’s important to all three of us that we continue our relationships as not only siblings but also as friends.”