Matt King Hits 100 Free Lifetime Best of 48.87 to Kick Off Virginia Senior Champs

by Robert Gibbs 9

July 14th, 2022 News

Virginia Long Course Senior Champs

  • July 14-17, 2022
  • Liberty Natatorium, Lynchburg, VA
  • LCM
  • Meet Central
  • Results on Meet Mobile as “2022 VA LC Senior Champs”

While the Speedo Summer Sectionals series may be the “biggest” domestic events of the week, plenty of top-notch swimmers are opting to race at “smaller” meets as well, and the Virginia Long Course Senior Championships is one of those meets that’s attracted some national-level talent.

And we got some fast times quickly in the first session, as rising UVA junior Matt King dipped under the 49 second mark for the first time in his career with a 48.87 win in the 100 free. King came into today with a best time of 49.98 from last summer’s Olympic Trials. He demolished that mark with a 49.17 in prelims, then went another three-tenths faster in finals. Tonight’s time would’ve put him 2nd in the 100 free B-final at April’s US Trials.

King’s UVA teammates Jack Aikins (49.77) and Connor Boyle (50.92)  finished 2nd and 3rd this evening, with Aikins also recording a new lifetime best. 15 year-old age group phenom Thomas Heilman took 4th in 50.94. He came into into today with a lifetime best of 51.12, then got under 51 for the first time this morning with a 50.99, then went another 0.05s faster in finals.

Of course, Heilman’s 100 free was his second swim of the evening. The first came in the 200 IM, where he led the field with a lifetime best of 2:04.63. Heilman had a big day in that event. Prior to today his best time was 2:12.71; he then went 2:07.68 for 2nd seed, before knocking another three seconds off of that time in the evening. That moves him to roughly 35th all-time in the 15-16 age group.

Virginia Tech’s Joseph Hong won the 100 breast by nearly a second with a 1:03.98; that swim set a new lifetime best for the rising sophomore by over half a second. UVA commit Bobby DiNunzio of TIDE won the 1500 free with a 15:48.43.

On the women’s side, arguably the most intruding swim of the evening also came in the 100 free, which rising UVA sophomore Gretchen Walsh won with a 54.98. That’s still over a second shy of her lifetime best of 53.74 from the 2019 Junior World Championships, back when she was 16, but it is faster than she went at last year’s Olympic Trials or at this spring’s International Team Trials. In an interview shortly after Worlds, UVA head coach Todd DeSorbo acknowledged that Walsh has struggled in this event the last few years, and revealed that she would be only racing this event in a training suit until she hit an undisclosed goal time. So, if we see Walsh step up to the blocks at next month’s Nationals in a training suit, we can assume that the goal time was faster than 54.9.

NOVA of Virginia had a strong showing among both the men’s and the women’s competitions, but they really were a force on the women’s side, nearly sweeping the individual events. That was due largely in part to 15 year-old Elle Scott. Swimming against a 200 IM field that included two current UVA swimmers, one current Stanford swimmer, and one Stanford commit, Scott took the lead on the breaststroke leg with a strong 39.31 split. That split gave her enough of a cushion to hold off TIDE’s Kayla Wilson, even though Wilson outsplit her 30.54 to 32.72 on the anchor leg. Scott won in a lifetime best of 2:17.39, while Wison, the aforementioned Stanford commit, also hit a new lifetime best. UVA’s Ella Bathurst finished 3rd in 2:18.37.

After the 100 free finals were complete, Scott jumped back into the water for the 100 breast. Scott got ahead of UVA’s Ella Nelson early on with a 33.48 open 50, then held off Nelson on the backhalf to win 1:10.35 to 1:10.47. Yet another 15 year-old NOVA swimmer, Amanda Barnard won the 800 free with a 9:07.78, hitting a new best time by over five seconds.

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6 months ago

“Virginia Tech’s Joseph Hong won the 100 breast *by nearly a minute* with a 1:03.98”


Reply to  Erik
6 months ago

took me awhile to finish…….

6 months ago

Which events Heilman is going to enter at Nats next week? Really looking forward to following him at this summer meetings!

Reply to  OLOAP
6 months ago

*in a couple of weeks, sorry

Miss M
6 months ago

What do we all think GW’s target time is? I’m thinking sub 54:98 is good, but I’m guessing she needs a sub 54:50 before she gets suited up again.

6 months ago

Nationals gon be lit fr

6 months ago

Where does 50.94 put Heilman in the 15-16 rankings? At only 15 too, wow!

Reply to  SwimmerFan99
6 months ago

Only 50th. Not nearly as high as I expected.

Reply to  Braden Keith
6 months ago

Yeah, seems to be the 13th fastest 15-year-old American. Very easy to forget just how much young talent the U.S. has had

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