Thomas Heilman Becomes #2 U.S. 15-Year-Old In 200 Fly, Trailing Only Phelps


Age group stud Thomas Heilman had an explosive start to the 2022 U.S. International Team Trials on Tuesday morning, delivering a blistering time of 1:58.01 in the men’s 200 butterfly preliminaries.

Heilman, who aged up out of the 13-14 age group in February having rewritten numerous National Age Group Records, dropped nearly two seconds in the event to become the second-fastest U.S. 15-year-old in history, trailing only the GOAT, Michael Phelps.

Heilman set his previous best time of 1:59.87 at the U.S. Open in December, a time that made him the second-fastest in 13-14 history behind Phelps’ 1:59.02 from March 2000.

Now Heilman ranks second behind Phelps for 15-year-olds, with Phelps having turned 15 in late June of 2000, gone 1:57.48 to make the U.S. Olympic team, 1:56.50 to place fifth in Sydney, and then ultimately breaking the world record in the event the following year in 1:54.92.

All-Time 15-Year-Old U.S. Performers, Men’s 200 Fly (LCM)

  1. Michael Phelps (NBAC), 1:54.92 – 2001 Spring Nationals
  2. Thomas Heilman (CA), 1:58.01 – 2022 U.S. International Team Trials
  3. Carson Foster (RAYS), 1:58.47 – 2017 Summer Junior Nats
  4. Luca Urlando (DART), 1:58.93 – 2017 Summer Junior Nats
  5. Dare Rose (SCAR), 1:58.97 – 2018 Summer Nationals

In the 15-16 age group, Heilman now ranks seventh despite having turned 15 just two months ago.

All-Time 15-16 U.S. Performers, Men’s 200 Fly (LCM)

  1. Michael Phelps (NBAC), 1:54.58 – 2001 World Championships
  2. Luca Urlando (DART), 1:55.21 – 2018 Summer Nationals
  3. Andrew Seliskar (NCAP), 1:56.42 – 2013 World Junior Champs
  4. Matt Fenlon (BAD), 1:57.39 – 2019 Summer Nationals
  5. Justin Lynch (TERA), 1:57.80 – 2013 Summer Junior Nats
  6. Justin Wright (FDST), 1:57.90 – 2013 Pro Series – Santa Clara
  7. Thomas Heilman (CA), 1:58.01 – 2022 U.S. International Team Trials
  8. Daniel Madwed (SHKS), 1:58.15 – 2005 US World Maccabiah Games
  9. Carson Foster (RAYS), 1:58.47 – 2017 Summer Junior Nats
  10. Corey Okubo (AZOT), 1:58.58 – 2012 Junior Pan Pacs

Split Comparison

Heilman was significantly faster than his December swim on the opening 150, out-splitting that performance by an average of nearly a second over each of the first three 50s. Although he was just under a second slower coming home, using his speed to get out quick was clearly a strategy that paid off for the Cavalier Aquatics product.

Heilman, December 2021 Heilman, April 2022
27.11 26.12
57.89 (30.78) 55.87 (29.75)
1:28.85 (30.96) 1:26.04 (30.17)
1:59.87 (31.02) 1:58.01 (31.97)

Heilman ultimately ended up falling just shy of qualifying for tonight’s ‘A’ final, finishing two-tenths back of eighth-place Nicolas Albiero (1:57.81).

Trenton Julian paced the field this morning in a time of 1:54.34, followed by Zach Harting (1:55.83) and Chase Kalisz (1:56.04). Luca Urlando, who now ranks fourth-fastest among 15-year-olds having been overtaken by Heilman, comes into the final seeded fourth (1:56.32).

In tonight’s ‘B’ final, Heilman will be the youngest swimmer by two years, joined by a pair of 2005-born athletes in Henry McFadden (1:59.60) and Ilya Kharun (2:00.00). All three will vie for a spot on the Junior Pan Pacific Championship team.

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9 months ago

this guy never ceases to amaze me, looking forward to seeing what he’ll be capable of both in this meet and in summer competitions

SI Dad
9 months ago

Comparing Thomas vs. Michael in this event will be fun for a while! Phelps has finished his 15-16 campaign, while Heilman is still at the bottom of this age group and still has almost 2 years to improve. I have Thomas taking the title, but maybe at his last meet of eligibility.

9 months ago


9 months ago

Man’s improving at a faster rate than mcintosh. Kids unreal

Reply to  Swimmerfromjapananduk
9 months ago

McIntosh is already fast enough to contend for gold medals.

Reply to  Troyy
9 months ago

I know, but where did I mention winning medals? Both are teen phenoms, and heilman drops best times almost every time he races. Not the case for mcintosh

Last edited 9 months ago by Swimmerfromjapananduk
There's no doubt that he's tightening up
Reply to  Swimmerfromjapananduk
9 months ago

If McIntosh gets best times every time she races, in a few years she’ll be the undisputed greatest swimmer of all time lmao.

Easier for Heilman to drop from where he’s at than it is for McIntosh to drop from 1:55/4:01 in free, 2:05 200 fly, 4:29 400 IM


Technically McIntosh could only drop .01 every time she swims to get best times but that wouldn’t make her the greatest all time unless she swims many many swims 🙂



9 months ago

Coach: “Great job son, number 2 in age group history!”

Heilman: “Awesome, what do I need to drop tonight to get the record?”

Coach: “Three and a bit seconds”

Mr Piano
Reply to  Togger
9 months ago

No shame in being 2nd to literally the greatest swimmer in history.

Reply to  Mr Piano
9 months ago

Absolutely not, just shows how ludicrous that time is. Imagine if Phelps had been wearing a modern tech suit

Mr Piano
Reply to  Togger
9 months ago

Yea I could be wrong but I think he was probably wearing like an aquablade for that 1:59.0, which isn’t really that much better than a training suit imo lol.

Last edited 9 months ago by Mr Piano
Reply to  Mr Piano
9 months ago

In all honesty, tech suits up until 2004 (FSII) didn’t provide much of an advantage over a training brief. I believe that if he got to wear a modern jammer, his PBs would be pretty much the same, except for maybe the 200 FR since that event seems to have been the most to be juiced up by super suits.

About James Sutherland

James Sutherland

James swam five years at Laurentian University in Sudbury, Ontario, specializing in the 200 free, back and IM. He finished up his collegiate swimming career in 2018, graduating with a bachelor's degree in economics. In 2019 he completed his graduate degree in sports journalism. Prior to going to Laurentian, James swam …

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