Disclaimer: Swim of the Week is not meant to be a conclusive selection of the best overall swim of the week, but rather one Featured Swim to be explored in deeper detail. The Swim of the Week is an opportunity to take a closer look at the context of one of the many fast swims this week, perhaps a swim that slipped through the cracks as others grabbed the headlines, or a race we didn’t get to examine as closely in the flood of weekly meets.
Thomas Heilman went on a well-documented record-breaking spree over the first half of December, shattering National Age Group Records left and right in both long course meters and short course yards in the boys’ 13-14 category.
Between the US Open, the YOTA/Arena Capital Classic and the Winter Junior Championships – East, Heilman knocked off 14 NAGs in 11 days.
And while each of these swims holds significance, one that stands out from the rest is the record he broke in the SCY 100 fly in Greensboro.
Heilman came into Winter Juniors – East with a best time of 47.35 in the event, set in April, with the boys’ 13-14 NAG sitting at 46.95 from Michael Andrew in 2014. Andrew and Heilman marked the only Americans ever aged 14 and under to have been sub-48, with Russian native Andrei Minakov the only other 13-14 swimmer listed under 48 (47.78) on USA Swimming’s age group rankings.
Heilman took down Andrew’s NAG in the prelims, clocking 46.42, and then absolutely annihilated that time in the final, blasting a scintillating 45.81.
Not only did that swim win him gold in Greensboro, beating a finals field that featured three 18-year-olds and four 17-year-olds, and make him over a second faster than any other 13-14 swimmer in history, it also nearly took down the 15-16 NAG.
Over at the West meet in Austin, Sandpiper of Nevada swimmer Ilya Kharun broke Luca Urlando‘s 15-16 NAG of 45.62 in 45.59, and while that was a breakout performance for Kharun, it incredibly leaves Heilman just over two-tenths off the record one age group up. He’s also less than a second off the 17-18 NAG, held by Tom Shields at 44.91.
After his incredible 11 days of racing, Heilman now owns the 13-14 NAG in the following events:
- 100 freestyle SCY – 43.51
- 200 freestyle SCY – 1:34.68
- 100 butterfly SCY – 45.81
- 200 butterfly SCY – 1:42.77
- 400 freestyle relay SCY (Cavalier Aquatics/Piedmont Family YMCA) – 3:07.45 (Heilman, Will Browne, Tanner Kidd, Richard Wang)
- 50 freestyle LCM – 22.95
- 100 freestyle LCM – 51.12
- 200 freestyle LCM – 1:51.27
- 100 butterfly LCM – 53.27