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Enid’s Caroline Theil Coach Spotlight Presented by Enid Axe

Caroline Theil…Bronze Medal winner is EHS Swim Coach

By Jay Hoberecht

Caroline Theil (Tile) came to Enid High School to coach swimming via the World University Games in China where is won a bronze medal in the 200 IM!

Let me back up!  You need some background information about this young coach.  Theil grew up in Lincoln, Nebraska as the third of four children and started swimming at about six years old in a rec league.  Theil loved it! As a freshman at Plus X High School, she won two events (100 free and 200 free) in the state tournament.  She would end up winning six state championships in high school.  She holds the second best time in Nebraska high school state history in the 200 IM.

Theil was highly recruited by Notre Dame, Texas, Alabama and Texas A&M to name a few.  Her first choice was Texas A&M!  She had an “awesome” experience that included four SEC championships, three surgeries and a direction to her life that she is now living out.  Her sophomore year, Theil had right knee surgery brought on by over-training.  In her junior year, she developed a rare injury called Venus thoracic outlet syndrome (TOS).  She could not raise her arms more than 90 degrees without cutting off her blood flow in her chest.  It took 18 months to rehab.  That’s when she realized her interest and value of being a coach.  She also realized, “I was tough and resilient and it set me up to be who I am today.”   The things we learn from adversity.

Theil went to the Olympic Trials in 2016 and 2021.  She was dead last in 2016 and improved to 15th in 2021.  She has a qualifying time for the Olympic Trails and plans to be in Indianapolis in June, 2024.  She called it her “last hurrah”!

Theil’s husband, Ben Sager, is in pilot training at Vance Air Force Base.  He moved here in 2022 while she was finishing her undergraduate (2022) and Masters (2023) degrees at Texas A&M.   

That brings us back to 2023 when Theil was moving to Enid to be with her husband.  She began looking for jobs on-line and found the EHS swim coach position open.  She filed out an application, had a zoom interview and went to China for the World University Games.  Enid High athletic director Scott Mansfield, after his due diligence, tried to contact Theil to offer her the position.  She was in China with only a burner phone swimming for Team USA.  She won a bronze medal in the 200 IM.  Last August, with a bronze medal in hand, she returned to the USA to find out she was hired by Enid High School.

Coach Theil has made a big difference this season.  Many swimmers had posted personal best times.  Coach Theil credits their hard work on technique and a positive attitude.  She gets excited when she talks about all the quality time the swimmers have put in this season.  The Pacers won their ninth straight Oklahoma 7 Conference Championship and the Plainsmen were second.  Two senior swimmers, KaDynce Brochu and Like Rogers told me Coach Theil has done a great job this season leading the Pacers and Plainsmen.

Coach Theil’s enthusiasm is contagious.  We talked about her tenacity.  She said, “I have always wanted to excel.  I am not a goal setter but a goal getter.”  There was adversity especially during the 18 months she was rehabbing her shoulders but she kept a sticky note on her wall.  It simply reminded her, “You will swim better than you ever have before!”

Coach Theil is now working on becoming part of the Team USA Triathlon Development Team.  She would like to compete in the 2028 Olympics in Los Angeles.  It will be fun to follow Caroline Theil in her quest to be an Olympian!   

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