Thomas Heilman Claims Two Wins on Second Day of YMCA Festival


  • July 22-25, 2021
  • Triangle Aquatic Center, Cary, North Carolina
  • Long Course Meters (LCM)
  • Results on MeetMobile: “2021 NC AP YMCA Long Course Swimming Festival”

The Triangle YMCA in Cary, North Carolina is playing host to the YMCA Long Course Swimming Festival this weekend as the Triangle Aquatic Center welcomes 43 teams and over 500 swimmers from around the country to compete. Earlier this year, at the short course edition of the meet, athletes competed virtually, with teams sending in their times swum during the month of March. On the second day of racing, athletes competed in the 200 free, 100 breast, and 400 IM, as well as the 200 free relay.

Kicking off the finals session at night was Catherine Meisner in the women’s 200 free. The 17-year old, who is committed to Penn State’s class of 2022, cruised to a win in a time of 2:03.18, over three seconds ahead of the second-place finisher, and Meisner’s teammate at Greater Somerset County YMCA, Caitlyn Hughes (2:06.38). For Meisner, the swim was just under her previous best time in the event, which was a 2:03.97 from February of 2020.

In the men’s event, it was 14-year old Thomas Heilman who claimed his second event win of the meet. Representing the Piedmont Family YMCA/Cavalier Aquatics, Heilman won by nearly a second in 1:53.54.

Taking first in the women’s 100 breast was Emma Shaughnessy of the Red Bank Aquarockers. The 5th place finisher in the event two years ago, Shaughnessy was over a second faster than her time from that meet, touching in 1:12.78 for the gold medal. She is committed to join the Indiana Hoosiers this fall. Following her in the event was a pair of athletes who have multiple years left competing at the YMCA Festival, 15-year old Emily Thompson and 14-year old Grace Hunt. Thompson finished in 1:13.42 and Hunt touched in 1:13.70.

Dylan Citta, also swimming for the Red Bank Aquarockers, claimed the men’s 100 breast with ease over runner-up John Reese Taylor. Like his teammate Shaughnessy, he was a finalist in the event two years ago when he claimed sixth in the event. This year, he took the race out over a full second faster and never looked back as he finished in 1:03.67. Taylor touched in 1:04.74 for second.

In the women’s 400 IM, it was Grey Davis, a 15-year old from Piedmont Family YMCA, who came away with the win. Davis touched in 4:57.31, almost six full seconds faster than her best coming into the meet.

Closing out the finals session at night was Dylan Smolders of the Upper Main Line YMCA. The rising senior took over seven seconds off of his time coming into the meet as he finished in 3:45.38.

In the women’s 200 free relay, it was Upper Main Line YMCA coming away with another win on the day. The team of Alexa Fulton, Lily Robinson, Marina Wang, and Audrey Laganelli touched in 1:46.24 to beat out York YMCA for the gold medal. For the men, it was the Piedmont YMCA, led by Thomas Heilman, who came away with the win. Heilman led the relay off slightly faster than his time from finals of day one as he touched in 23.26. The relay finished in 1:35.35. That time was fast enough to dip below the Triangle Aquatic Center pool record.

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