15 Year-Old Thomas Heilman Becomes Youngest US Swimmer Ever to Go Sub-52 100 Fly


15 year-old Thomas Heilman continued his NAG record onslaught, taking down the US 15-16 National Age Group record and the Junior Pan Pacific meet record with an eyepopping 51.98 in the 100 fly today in Hawaii.

Heilman came into today with a lifetime best of 52.44 that’s just a few weeks old — he hit that time at the Speedo Junior National Championships earlier this month.

That time put him at #2 in the US 15-16 age group, just behind Luca Urlando’s 52.40 from this meet four years ago.

Just 13 months ago, Heilman’s personal best stood at 54.43. He took that time down to 53.27 at the US Open in December 2021, his last personal best in the event as a 14 year-old. That established a NAG record for the 13-14 age group. Since then, he’s improved to 52.87 at April’s International Team Trials, then 52.44 a few weeks ago before blasting below the 52-second barrier tonight.

Heilman still has another year in the 15-16 age group, and at his current rate of improvement, it’s not unreasonable to suggest he could close in on Michael Phelps’ 17-18 NAG of 51.10 before he even ages into that age group.

In fact, no US swimmer in the 17-18 age group besides Phelps has been under 52, meaning that Heilman, at 15, it just the 2nd US male ever to go 51-something before turning 19. While Phelps focused a bit more on the distance events at the age of 15, it’s still worth noting that his best 100 fly at that age was a 53.58, and he didn’t get under 52 until he was 17.

So far, we could only come up one swimmer worldwide who’s been faster than Heilman at a younger age, and that’s Andrei Minakov. He clocked a 51.84 at 2017 Junior Worlds when he was about four months past his 15th birthday. Heilman turned 15 this past winter, so that appears to put him a bit older than Minakov was when he got under 52. Minakov is registered with USA Swimming, but growing up he split his time between Russian and the USA, and he represents Russia internationally.

Tonight’s 100 fly win by Heilman also eliminated one of the oldest Junior Pan Pacific records still on the books, a 52.37 from New Zealand’s Daniel Bell back in 2009.

Australia’s Jesse Coleman pushed Heilman tonight, actually turning first at the 50 in 24.47, compared to Heilman’s 24.73. Coleman’s 2nd-place time of 52.23 was also under Bell’s previous meet record.

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1 year ago

Already faster then Dressel, who had 52,22 before 2017.

1 year ago

Minakov and Zhuhao then disappeared…let’s hope Heilman gets better

Reply to  Paul
1 year ago

How has Minakov disappeared exactly?

Awsi Dooger
Reply to  oxyswim
1 year ago

Hopefully from all international events

Ice Golem
1 year ago

Do y’all think he knows he’s cracked at swim yet

1 year ago

It’s crazy how Heilman could realistically challenge Milak’s WJR’s within the next 12 months.

Tommy Schmitt
Reply to  PFA
1 year ago

lol take it easy tiger

Reply to  Tommy Schmitt
1 year ago

Why do you say that, what PFA said is completely factual.

Last edited 1 year ago by Nicholas
Reply to  PFA
1 year ago

Maybe in a few years’ time, but he is pretty big for his age and already elite at his start and underwaters, so large drops will likely be harder to come by.

Gulliver’s Swimming Travels
1 year ago

Wait so, is Minakov actually a U.S. citizen?

1 year ago

According to a commentor in the live results thread, Zhuhao also went sub 52 at 15 but uncertain how if he was older or younger at the time compared to Heilman months wise.

Also I think Heilman turned 15 in January or February. December was when he went on his tear as a 14 YO

Last edited 1 year ago by 7swim
Reply to  7swim
1 year ago

Heilman is mid february,

Mr Piano
1 year ago

What the hell dude

MMr Piano
1 year ago


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