When Darren Thomason ’11 isn’t swimming breaststroke in the Freeman pool, this team captain is getting ready to celebrate his birthday and graduation on May 22. He sat down with The Argus to dish about onesies, armored cars, and being famous in Southwest Florida.
The Argus: You’ve asked me to make you a WesCeleb several times, and I don’t even know you. Why do you think you should be a WesCeleb?
Darren Thomason: To be honest I wasn’t ever expecting to be a WesCeleb. I’m very excited to have this opportunity. My housemates and friends are aware that I was very interested in being a WesCeleb and some campaigned for me. I thought I deserved to be WesCeleb because I am involved in the Economics major and TA for a bunch of classes and I’ve been on the swim team my entire time on campus—I’m the captain this year.
A: I was told there was a swim meet at Trinity freshman year and something interesting happened.
DT: [Laughs] Yeah. This was our first meet, and I didn’t know what to expect. There were a bunch of parents there and this one guy was talking to other Wesleyan swimmers and I assumed he was someone’s grandfather. He kept trying to make small conversation and I was like, ‘Why does he keep talking to me?’ Then he made this very strange comment—he started checking out my chest hairs and said in this creepy voice, ‘I like your fur.’ I was like, ‘This is probably not someone’s grandfather.’ I didn’t know what to do, so I just walked away. I told one of the captains of the women’s team that there was this creepy old man making strange comments towards me. Before the last relay the whole team was standing together and I just hear him say ‘Hey, do you have a cell phone number?’ So we go and tell our coaches and as we are standing there telling them, the guy starts walking over so the captain pushed me into the pool so he wouldn’t be able to talk to me. The guy ran away and that was the end of it. On away meets the captains give out awards. The women’s team gives the men’s team a ‘cute butt’ award for anyone who had a great day. Needless to say, I got it.
A: I know the swim team goes down to Florida to do training. I heard there was an incident when you were on TV in your Speedo—what was that all about?
DT: Last year we went to Florida. We usually go to Puerto Rico, but recently the NESCAC passed a rule that teams can’t travel internationally. So instead we went to Naples, Florida. None of us knew what to expect. We got to the airport and the whole team was sitting by the baggage area. There was no one else in this airport, except for this lady walking around with a huge camera. I thought something was going on. She came up to us and said, ‘Hey, does anyone want to be interviewed about the weather?’ I said I gladly would. I explained who we were and she said, ‘Are you aware that there is frost on the airplanes and they don’t know what to do about it?’ I answered, ‘No.’ We didn’t realize that it was 35 degrees in Florida until we got outside. When I told her we were training in an outdoor pool, she was shocked, thinking it was too cold to be swimming outside. She asked if we would be using wetsuits, I again said ‘no’ and pulled out one of my Wesleyan Speedos to show her. The next night, I was on the news holding up my Speedo for all of Southwest Florida to see. Apparently there’s nothing else going on in Florida—six days later they came back to interview us again.
A: Speaking of water, there was a Wespeak written last semester about your fish Moses passing away—sort of a eulogy. Have you gotten a new fish?
DT: No, I have not gotten a new fish. It was a very tragic loss for me and my housemates…I still have an empty fishbowl on my desk. It’s kind of morbid.
A: I hear you have a job for life after Wes. Are congratulations in order?
DT: I do. I’m working at Analysis Group, which is an economic consulting group. I am very, very lucky to already have a job. I think all of my housemates are a little jealous. I’m going to be in Boston. The company does a lot of work for law firms and we do a lot of statistical analysis.
A: So what is your true love in life: SAS, SPSS or STATA?
DT: I don’t know if I have a true love yet. SPSS is a little cheesy. I really like STATA. I don’t know how to use SAS.
A: You interned at McKinsey in London this summer and you’ve done a lot of business and consulting work. What’s the largest amount of money you’ve ever dealt with?
DT: I worked as a bank teller the summer after my freshman year—I still think this is cool. We were handling a lot of money and three days a week the armory car would come pick up all the cash. We had giant plastic bags that were stuffed with $200,000 to $250,000 in cash and coins. The first time, I was like ‘Woah.’
A: Did you ever roll around in it?
DT: I wish I had. I should have. I probably would have lost my job. But looking back it definitely would have been a good career move to have that experience.
A: I hear you have interesting fashion choices. You like wearing a fleecy onesie with polar bears on it.
DT: Yes that is one of my favorite outfits. It was probably one of the best purchases of my life I ever made, at Target $15 circa 2006. I recently wore it to a swim team gathering. I was clearly the life of the party there.
A: Now for the final James Lipton-esque question. If you could have any superpower, what would it be and why?
DT: I already know the answer to this question. I thought about it for so long. My super power would be not having to sleep. I love sleeping but I feel like it’s such a waste of time. I am spending eight valuable hours a day just sleeping. I could be so much more productive if I was awake. I could probably read a book in eight hours if I wasn’t sleeping. That sounds like the best super power in the world. Maybe a more jealous person would like to fly, but I would just like to stay awake all the time.