2022 WINTER JUNIOR CHAMPIONSHIPS – EAST
- December 7-10, 2022
- Greensboro Aquatic Center, Greensboro, North Carolina
- Short Course Yards (25 yards), Prelims/Finals
- Start Times
- Prelims @9:00AM ET
- Finals at 5:00 PM ET (except for day 1 timed finals – 6:00 PM ET)
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You may have been expecting Thomas Heilman to take the 15-16 National Age Group record in the 200 yard IM tonight, but you probably weren’t expecting him to demolish it by a whole second.
This morning at the Speedo Winter Junior Championships-East meet in Greensboro, NC, the 15 year-old Heilman moved to #4 in the age group with a 1:43.39 prelims swim. That swim was a new personal best by over 3 seconds and put Michael Andrew’s seven year-old 1:42.77 record on watch.
Tonight, Heilman, swimming against a tough field that included 17 year-old Daniel Diehl, put on a clinic and crushed MA’s old record by well over a second with a jaw-dropping time of 1:41.71.
|Heilman Prelims||Heilman Finals||Michael Andrew 2015|
Heilman was faster in all four strokes tonight compared to this morning, but that freestyle leg stands out the most. His 23.88 split this evening was almost a second faster than this morning’s split, and it’s almost two seconds faster than Michael Andrew’s final leg from 2015. In some sense, that swim presaged Andrew’s eventual long course strategy, as he memorably made the USA Olympic team in this event last summer with a fly and die approach.
Tonight, Heilman leapt over both Andrew and Luca Urlando for the top spot in the age group. Here’s how that list looks at the moment.
All-Time Performers, 200 IM – Boys’ 15-16 Age Group
- Thomas Heilman, 1:41.71 – 2022
- Michael Andrew, 1:42.77 – 2015
- Luca Urlando, 1:42.99 – 2018
- Maximus Williamson, 1:43.16 – 2021
- Carson Foster, 1:43.79 – 2017
- Reece Whitley, 1:43.93 – 2016
- Andrew Seliskar, 1:44.03 – 2013
- Destin Lasco, 1:44.59 – 2018
- Tyler Lu, 1:44.87 – 2019
- Carter Lancaster, 1:45.02 – 2022
Heilman is also an accomplished sprint freestyler, and assuming he competes in the NCAA, he and his coaches may have a tough choice to make regarding whether he swims the 200 IM or the 50 free as part of his championship lineup. It seems bizarrely early to start speculating too much given that Heilman is only a sophomore in high school, but his 200 IM tonight would’ve made the B-final at the 2022 NCAA Championships. Furthermore, to provide even more context for that 23.88 freestyle leg tonight, only two swimmers out of the 16 in the A- or B-final at NCAAs closed in under 24 seconds.
His swim also broke the meet record, previously set by Baylor Nelson at 1:42.01 in 2021. It also appears to be the 2nd-fastest time ever swam by someone still in high school, behind only David Nolan’s legendary 1:41.39 from 2011, which still stands as the 17-18 age group record. The only other man who’s been faster while under the age of 19 is Spanish national Hugo Gonzalez, who went 1:40.67 (and 1:41.69) while competing for Auburn University in the spring of 2018.
Again, Heilman is only 15. He and Maximus Williamson are the only two swimmers to have gone under 1:44 at the age of 15. Or under 1:45. Or under 1:46. The next fastest 15 year-old ever, per the USA Swimming database? Shane Blinkman, at 1:46.03.
Diehl was right with or ahead of Heilman for most of the race tonight. Heilman excelled coming off of the walls while Diehl tended to catch him towards the end of each length. Ultimately, Diehl couldn’t hang with Heilman’s blistering final 50, and he ended up touching in 1:43.01. That’s a new PR for Diehl, and appears to move him to #9 all-time in the 17-18 age group, just ahead of Chase Kalisz.
Update #1: shortly after this article was published, 16 year-old Maximus Williamson swam a 1:42.07 at the West site. That moves him to #2 in the age group. 18 year-old Nate Germonprez went 1:42.82, which moves him up to #8 in the 17-18 age group and bumps Diehl to #10.
Update #2: Heilman split 44.95 on the Cavalier Aquatics’ 400 medley relay at the end of the session. That’d be a solid freestyle leg for a 15 year-old…but that was the butterfly leg. By a quick count, Heilman’s split was faster than 20 of the 28 fly legs of the 400 medley relay at the 2022 NCAA Division I Championships.