Just 15, Thomas Heilman Shatters 15-16 NAG in Boys 100 Free with 49.06 in Prelims



  • Jr World: 46.86 – David Popovici, ROM (2022)
  • Jr Pan Pac: 48.91 – Jack Cartwright, AUS (2016)

A-final qualifiers:

  1. Thomas Heilman, USA – 49.06
  2. Flynn Southam, Australia – 49.12
  3. Henry McFadden, USA – 49.23
  4. Jamie Mooney, Australia – 50.14
  5. Tatsumi Edward Scott, Japan – 50.78
  6. Yuta Watanabe, Japan – 50.95
  7. Filip Senc-Samardzic, Canada – 51.23
  8. Paul Dardis, Canada – 51.34

American 15-year-old Thomas Heilman is building on his great performances in the 200 fly yesterday, throwing down a lifetime best to post the top time of the morning in the boys 100 free. Heilman made waves last night when he won silver in the boys 200 fly, swimming a huge new personal best of 1:56.52.

This morning, Heilman tore to a 49.06 in the 100 free prelims, taking 0.61 seconds off his personal best. With the swim, the 15-year-old crushed the U.S. 15-15 National Age Group Record in the event, which stood at 49.28. It was none other than sprint superstar Caeleb Dressel who held the previous record, which was set back at the 2013 U.S. Summer Nationals.

Heilman now stands on the precipice of becoming the youngest American ever to break 49 seconds in the LCM 100 free. It would be one heck of an accomplishment as no 16-and-under in American history has done so, and Heilman is still only 15 for 5 more months.

Here are the all-time top 5 performers among U.S. 15-16 boys in the LCM 100 free:

Rank Time Swimmer Meet
1 49.06 Thomas Heilman 2022 Jr Pan Pacs
2 49.28 Caeleb Dressel 2013 Summer Nationals
3 49.40 Destin Lasco 2018 Summer Nationals
4 49.47 Kaii Winkler 2022 Junior Pan Pacs
5 49.67 Jack Alexy 2019 Summer Nationals

16-year-old Kaii Winkler also swam a personal best in prelims this morning, popping off a 49.47 to take 0.21 seconds off his previous best from the International Team Trials in April. With that performance, Winkler moved up a spot to #4 all-time in the 15-16 age group.

Here is a split comparison between Heilman’s swim this morning and his previous best from the U.S. Junior Nationals just a few weeks ago, plus Winkler’s swim this morning and his previous best from April:

Splits Thomas Heilman – 2022 Jr Pan Pacs (Prelims) Thomas Heilman – 2022 U.S. Junior Nationals (Finals) Kaii Winkler – 2022 Jr Pan Pacs (Prelims) Kaii Winkler – 2022 International Team Trials
50m 23.61 24.00 23.70 23.85
100m 25.45 25.67 25.77 25.83
FINAL TIME 49.06 49.67 49.47 49.68

Notably, both Heilman and Winkler were faster on both 50s of their swims this morning versus their previous best time performances. Both also improved more on the 1st 50 of the race than the 2nd. That’s the case especially with Heilman, who was 24.00 at Junior Nationals a few weeks ago and was able to bring that split well under 24 today.

That wasn’t it for great performances, however, as American 17-year-old Henry McFadden posted a new lifetime best this morning as well, taking 3rd overall with a 49.23. McFadden’s previous best was set just 3 weeks ago at the U.S. Junior Nationals, when he was still 16. Having just turned 17 years old, McFadden is now already the #7 performer all-time in the 17-18 age group among Americans. Also, just days into being 17, McFadden is now rapidly closing in on the NAG, which is held by Jack Alexy at 48.69.

Rank Time Swimmer Meet
1 48.69 Jack Alexy 2020 Olympic Trials Wave II
2 48.78 Caeleb Dressel 2015 Summer Nationals
3 48.87 Maxime Rooney 2015 World Jr Champs
4 49.03 Arsenio Bustos 2020 Olympic Trials Wave II
5 49.05 Michael Phelps 2004 Spring Nationals
6 49.20 Jake Magahey 2019 Summer Nationals
7 49.23 Henry McFadden 2022 Jr Pan Pacs
8 49.24 Matt Ellis 2012 Jr Pan Pacs
9 49.27 Adam Chaney 2019 World Jr Champs
10 49.28 Drew Kibler 2018 Summer Nationals

The Jr Pan Pacs Record sits at 48.91, a time which looks poised to fall tonight, perhaps at the hands of multiple swimmers. In addition to Heilman and Winkler in particular, Australian Flynn Southam has a personal best of 48.54, a time which he swam at the Commonwealth Games last month. Whatever happens tonight, we are certainly in for a thrilling race between these young rising sprint stars.

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3 months ago

All this fast swimming lately is only making Dressel’s situation worse. The pressure to compete and succeed keeps piling on

Memma EcKeon
3 months ago

Kids are so fast these days

maximum mchuge
3 months ago

Also, now sits at 50 all time in usa

Goated Mcintosh
3 months ago

At 15, Heilman is already taller than Dressel.

By 2024, Heilman might beat Caeleb in the 100 free, if he keeps progressing like Popovici.

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Reply to  Goated Mcintosh
3 months ago

Dressel is not particularly tall for a swimmer though…

Reply to  Goated Mcintosh
3 months ago

If he keeps progressing like Popovici, he’ll have the WR in 2022 since he’ll be 17…

Reply to  TINY HANDS
3 months ago


3 months ago

Think this might put him ahead of Popovici at 15 (although Popovici was 49.82 at 14)

Reply to  Dan
3 months ago

Hmm I think your right.

Tim boy
3 months ago


3 months ago

Wait ‘till he hears what the record is for 17 year olds boys

3 months ago

Another high schooler that excites everyone every time they hit the water. The JRs are really bringing the fun for all us swim nerds!