15-Year Old Thomas Heilman Swims 44.67 100 Fly: Faster than 15-16 and 17-18 NAG Records

by Robert Gibbs 62

December 09th, 2022 National, News, Previews & Recaps


No, that’s not a typo. 15 year-old Thomas Heilman of Cavalier Aquatics continued his multi-year assault on the National Age Group record books tonight in Greensboro with a jaw-dropping, eye-popping, what-are-they-feeding-these-kids-today-inducing 44.67 in the 100 fly.

Heilman went out in 21.00, just a hair ahead of 18 year-old Scotty Buff (21.04). Buff impressed with the underwaters, but Heilman caught up by each wall, and finished hard on the final length to stop the clock in 44.67. Buff touched a moment later at 44.87.

Race video courtesy of USASwimming YouTube channel

With that time, Heilman easily cleared the 15-16 National Age Group record in the event, which was previously a 45.62, set by Luca Urlando back in 2018. Ilya Kharun had also been 45.59, but that time doesn’t officially count as the NAG record since it turned out that Kharun wasn’t an American citizen, and he now represents Canada internationally.

All-Time US 100 Fly Rankings 15-16 Age Group

  1. Thomas Heilman, 44.67 – 2022
  2. Luca Urlando, 45.62 – 2018
  3. Michael Andrew, 46.23 – 2015
  4. Camden Murphy, 46.25 – 2015
  5. Ethan Hu, 46.25 – 2018

That’s Heilman’s second NAG record of the meet, after he obliterated the 200 IM record last night with a 1:41.71. He also split 44.95 on the Cavalier Aquatics’ 400 medley relay last night, which indicated that the NAG could go down tonight, but it didn’t necessarily presage him going as fast he did this evening. It’s tough to properly put Heilman’s times in context, but for now we’ll note that a 44.67 would’ve finished 7th at last year’s NCAA Division I championships. And again, he’s only a high school sophomore.

Of course, Buff also had an incredible swim. He came into today with a best of 45.40, which ranked him #5 all-time in the 17-18 age group. He now sits at #2, behind only Aiden Hayes.

All-Time US 100 Fly Rankings 17-18 Age Group

  1. Aiden Hayes, 44.75 – 2022
  2. Scotty Buff, 44.87 – 2022
  3. Tom Shields, 44.91 – 2010
  4. Luca Urlando, 44.97 – 2021
  5. Caeleb Dressel, 45.28 – 2015

Besides Buff, the other four men on the above list all hit those times as college freshmen. Buff is committed to the University of Florida and should make an immediate impact for the Gators, even as a freshman.

You’ll note that Heilman’s time tonight was faster than the 17-18 age group record. From what we can tell, only one man has ever been faster in the event before turning 19. That’s Egyptian national Youssef Ramadan, who went 44.32 while swimming for Virginia Tech as a freshman at the 2021 ACC Championships.

Cavalier Aquatics is entered in the 200 free relay, and keep an on Heilman, especially if he leads off. He skipped the 50 free yesterday to focus on the 200 IM, but has a personal best of 19.78 and surely will be aiming to improve on that time if he gets a flat start tonight.

Update: Heilman did indeed lead off Cavalier Aquatics’ relay. He went 19.63, which looks to move him up to to 7th all-time in the 15-16 age group. Per the USA Swimming database, Ryan Hoffer is the only swimmer who’s been faster at the age of 15, having gone 19.54 back in 2013.

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1 month ago

used to love seeing random summer league record boards with age times faster than groups above. That’s not supposed to happen in NAG mens sprinting.

1 month ago

Chas. Morton.

1 month ago

I am genuinely baffled at how he is so fast at such a young age

1 month ago

Relay start needs work

Reply to  Meathead
1 month ago

Almost like he’s…a 15YO age grouper.

1 month ago

Are you not entertained?

Viking Steve
1 month ago

He’ll go pro a la MP… NCAAs will be a waste of his time by the time he is 18 just like MP. He can get an education anytime later in life

PK Doesn't Like His Long Name
Reply to  Viking Steve
1 month ago

The calculus on whether or not to go pro has changed massively with NIL versus when Phelps was deciding what to do.

Reply to  PK Doesn't Like His Long Name
1 month ago

Agree. With NIL, he’d probably make more money going to college and getting the visibility of NCAAs.

Reply to  96Swim
1 month ago

Yeah there’s really no point to go pro right off the bat if you can get an education and make money now (unless of course you REALLY focus on the distance you’re putting in). Would’ve been great for MA given his training style. I’d like to think that it also brings more eyes to the college scene and helps grow the sport as well.

Steve Nolan
1 month ago

I mean obviously yes, wild swim. But wait a minute:

 Ilya Kharun had also been 45.59, but that time doesn’t officially count as the NAG record since it turned out that Kharun was an American citizen, and he now represents Canada internationally.

NAGs are based on international representation?

How does that…work. (Like I can’t remember but I feel like Vlad Morozov used to have some, would those have just gotten cleared 10 years later or something??)

Reply to  Steve Nolan
1 month ago

NAG is National age Group record so yes National representation is a prerequisite.

You can hold us open, NCAA, Lsc, national championship meet records etc as a non American but not NAG’s.

Steve Nolan
Reply to  Mike
1 month ago

Well ya, but you can hold NAGs as a 9yo.

1 month ago


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