One Day, Four Top 20, Five Commits, What. Just. Happened for the Virginia Men

The hype has finally been revealed. Just three days ago, Virginia posted “The Entire Swimming World Just Turned Upside-Down!!” and now we all know what it means.

The Virginia men had five commitment announcements from the high school boys class of 2025, including four from the top 20 ranked recruits.

Not only were the commitments from the top 20 recruits but the top two swimmers in the class Thomas Heilman and Maximus Williamson will be headed to Charlottesville in fall 2025.

So, what does this all mean? What just happened?

Between Heilman and Williamson alone, the two hold the top times in the class in 10 out of the 14 events, with the exceptions being the 1000 and 1650 freestyles as well as the 100 and 200 breaststrokes.

Heilman is the best butterflier in the class, Williamson the best backstroke and mid-distance freestyle, but the excitement does not stop there. #8 Thomas Mercer, #12 Josh Howat, and Grant Murphy also announced their commitments today.

Mercer is one of the top IMers in the class and will be able to train alongside the top IMers in the class as Heilman has the top 200 IM in the class and Williamson has the fastest 400 IM in the class. Murphy is also an IMer and will be able to train alongside  Mercer (and Heilman/Williamson).

Howat is a sprint freestyle who surely will be key to continuing the team’s momentum in the sprint freestyle event, especially on the men’s side. It is important for us to remember that the Virginia men are the American record holders in the 200 freestyle relay after setting that record at the 2022 ACC Championships.

Not only are these commitments big at the NCAA level, but they also are big at the international level. Heilman already competed at Senior Worlds this summer for the US while Williamson won two individual events at Junior Worlds. This group has the potential to be the future of the Olympic team.

The Virginia men finished 15th at NCAAs this past year, but have the momentum in the right direction. They brought in the #8 recruiting class in the high school class of 2023 which are now competing as freshmen. They also already have two top 20 ranked recruits in the class of 2024 as well as one best-of-the-rest commit. Now, they have four top 20s in 2025.

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1 month ago

Did SMU not have any scholarships available?

1 month ago

I’m not a fan of this jump on the bandwagon thing. UVA has had some good male recruits in the past, none of whom continued to progress. A lot like a couple years ago when a slew of our best women went to Stanford. That didn’t work out so well.

Summer Swim Fan
Reply to  IMO
1 month ago

Jack Aikins just won gold in 200 Back at PanAms. Not a bad accomplishment.

1 month ago

Jackson Tishler (185th via SwimCloud) (3:58 400 IM, 1:48 200 Back, 1:40 200 Free, 1:51 200 Fly, 4:33 500 Free) just committed as part of the savage 7 lol

Reply to  whoisthis
1 month ago

those are D3 times though

Reply to  Andrew
1 month ago

Not if they’re from sophomore year of highschool

Reply to  PineappleNoMore
1 month ago

Did you ever consider Andrew may be a time traveler?

Double breath
1 month ago

This should change the program. Greatness tends to reveal itself and with Max and Heilman – it seems like you’d have to get in their way to stop their progression. Excited to see what happens

Joel Lin
1 month ago

Some fun “greatest recruiting class of all time” debates here.

My 2 cents, and I’ll badly date myself here: greatest recruiting class ever was the Stanford high school class of 1984 recruiting class. To date we’ve never seen 2 in the same class to the equal of Pablo Morales & Jeff Kostoff.

Morales won Olympic medals in the summers 1984 before arriving at Stanford. Kostoff broke the American record in the 500 free at a high school meet, then made the 1984 Olympic team alongside Morales.

Other top recruits in that class joined them & all joined John Moffet – Stanford won its first NCAA title in decades the next year + won the next 2 as well. The earth… Read more »

Last edited 1 month ago by Joel Lin
Reply to  Joel Lin
1 month ago

Don’t remember who was exactly in the class, but Eddie had Walker, Piersol, Hansen, Crocker, Goldblatt (and a couple other FR guys I think) within about 12 months of each other. If any 3 or 4 of these guys were in the same class, then it has to go down as the greatest recruiting class of all time. I’m sure there’s some former Longhorn on here that can clarify who was together in those years.

Joel Lin
Reply to  justanopinion
1 month ago

Recall that Texas medley relay which was literally the first 3 legs of the 2004 US Olympic relay together; Pierson, Hansen, Crocker. Incredible!

Reply to  Joel Lin
1 month ago

The urban legend I’ve heard is that those 3 along with Neil Walker (also on the team and one of the top 10 fastest 100 Fr’ers in the world at the time) went to Eddie and asked if they could try to break the WR at Nationals (because they could). But Eddie refused to let them. He didn’t want Texas to overshadow the United States (if they didn’t break it back). Don’t know if that’s true or legend….but pretty fun if it was

Reply to  justanopinion
1 month ago

I don’t believe Walker was on the same team with Piersol, Crocker, and Hansen. Fairly certain Walker finished up his eligibility around 1998, and did so at the meet where he broke his hand. Walker obviously trained with them for years after that.

Crocker and Hansen arrived in fall of 2000. Piersol in fall of 2002. The three did two years together, with Chris Kemp anchoring their medley relay. Piersol went pro in 2004.

The 2001 team was insane. Crocker, Piersol, Goldblatt, Dusing, Hannan, and Rauch? And they would have had at least one of the Dumais brothers if not both in diving.

Dusing, Hannan, and Rauch we’re kind of a bridge between Walker and Crocker a/ Hansen.

1 month ago

A lot of the comments seem to be aimed at questioning DeSorbo’s coaching of men.

The men’s program has seven top 10 NCAA finishes in history. DeSorbo has three of them (2019, 2021, 2022). The last had been in 2011. It’s not like he destroyed some storied program. MB built it, TS rebuilt it.

In essence, he re-established the program’s footing and, with a phenom who happened to grow up 10 miles from UVa, now has the opportunity to help the program move from the 8-10 range (with 15 as the outlier in 2023) to the top 5. And he has the men’s recruiting version of Kate Douglass (No. 1 in 2019) and Alex Walsh (No. 2 in… Read more »

Last edited 1 month ago by Vaswammer
VA Steve
1 month ago

If you watch social media and read SwimSwam, Virginia seems to be a great and fun place to swim, practice and go to school. Together with NIL, this combination is one other schools will have to emulate. It has also led to great success with a coaching team working on the international level and exposed to later recruits.

ct swim fan
1 month ago

So were these guys all on the same recruiting trip, become good friends, like UVA, and decided they wanted to be on the same college team?

Reply to  ct swim fan
1 month ago

I’m sure this was much longer in the making. These swimmers have known each other on the national scene. This didn’t just happen because of a recruiting weekend.

About Anya Pelshaw

Anya Pelshaw

Anya has been with SwimSwam since June 2021 as both a writer and social media coordinator. She was in attendance at the 2022 and 2023 Women's NCAA Championships writing and doing social media for SwimSwam. Currently, Anya is pursuing her B.A. in Economics and a minor in Government & Law at …

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