Thomas Heilman Headlines VHSL Class 4 With Two Individual Records

  • February 17-18 2022
  • Collegiate School Aquatic Center, Richmond, Virginia
  • SCY
  • Results

Boys’ Recap

Freshman Thomas Heilman of Western Albemarle High School has continued to demonstrate his swimming capabilities after breaking two individual VHSL Class 4 records and two relay records at the 2022 VHSL Class 4 Swimming and Diving Championships, which took place on Friday and Saturday.

Heilman started the meet by leading off Western Albemarle High School’s 200 medley relay, posting a 22.77 seconds backstroke split. He joined forces with Jack Smith (25.90), Jackson Schundler (23.29), and Sam Johnson (20.75) to win in a record time of 1:32.71, which was 2.83 seconds ahead of 2nd place Jefferson Forest High School (1:35.54). 

The 50 freestyle was a showdown between Heilman and junior Brendan Whitfield of Jefferson Forest High School and a Virginia Tech commit. In prelims, Whitfield broke the VHSL Class 4 record, posting a 20.37. Heilman responded in his prelim heat by going 20.18 to break Whitfield’s record, which was held for a matter of minutes. 

In the finals, Heilman and Whitfield dipped under 20 seconds and finished in 19.91 and 19.93, respectively. The duo were the only swimmers sub-21, with Heilman’s teammate Johnson finishing 3rd (21.05). Heilman’s best time (19.83) comes from December 2021 at the East Speedo Winter Junior Nationals. Also in December 2021, Heilman broke 13 National Age Group records over the course of 11 days

Heilman just missed the NAG record in the 50 freestyle at the Winter Junior Nationals meet (19.76), which was set by Michael Andrew in 2014. Whitfield’s 2nd place finish was his lifetime best. The all-time Virginia high school record in the 50 freestyle is 19.67, held by Anthony Grimm and was set in 2019. As a freshman, Heilman likely has his eyes set on the 19.20 seconds National High School record by Aidan Hayes from 2021. 

Heilman currently holds the fastest time among all of the Virginia high school boys in the 50 freestyle, sitting just in front of Aiken Do, who posted a 20.44 at the Class 6 championships. Do is headed to Virginia Tech in the fall and will have three seasons with Whitfield

Heilman followed up his performance winning the 100 butterfly in a VHSL Class 4 record time (46.78), which is just off Andrew Seliskar’s VHSL record of 46.13 seconds, set in 2015. Heilman won the race by almost two-seconds. His best time is the 13-14 NAG record, which he set in December 2021 (45.81). 

Western Albemarle High School also set a VHSL Class 4 record in the 200 freestyle relay (1:25.43) with Matthew Heilman (21.91), Richard Wang (22.00), Anthony Garono (21.89), and T. Heilman (19.63). T. Heilman had the fastest split in the field by almost a second. 

Western Albemarle High School won the boys VHSL Class 4 Championship meet with 409 points, which was 196 points ahead of 2nd place Blacksburg High School with 213 points. 

Men’s Winners:

  • 200 medley relay: Western Albemarle High School, 1:32.71 (VHSL Class 4 record)
  • 200 freestyle: Ryan Hufford, Monacan High School, 1:41.56
  • 200 IM: Matthew Heilman, Western Albemarle High School, 1:51.45
  • 50 freestyle: Thomas Heilman, Western Albemarle High School, 19.91 (VHSL Class 4 record)
  • 100 butterfly: Thomas Heilman, Western Albemarle High School, 46.78 (VHSL Class 4 record)
  • 100 freestyle: Sam Johnson, Western Albemarle High School, 46.05
  • 500 freestyle: Ryan Hufford, Monacan High School, 4:39.42
  • 200 freestyle relay: Western Albemarle High School, 1:25.43 (VHSL Class 4 record)
  • 100 backstroke: Kyle Peck, Chancellor High School, 48.13
  • 100 breaststroke: Brock Rempe, Atlee High School, 55.59 (VHSL Class 4 record)
  • 400 freestyle relay: Jefferson High School, 3:11.05

Girls’ Recap

On the girls’ side, Monacan High School had 316 points, compared to Jamestown High School with 278 points. 

Monacan High School started the meet by winning the 200 medley relay in Class 4 record time (1:46.04) featuring Cassie Bauer (27.68), Rachael Brown (28.99), Carleigh Dillman (25.68), Raegan Canada (23.69). 

Kyleigh Tankard, a senior from Grafton High School highlighted the girls’ meet. Tankard will swim for University of North Carolina–Chapel Hill in the fall. At VHSL Class 4 Championships, Tankard set the class record in the 200 freestyle (1:49.37), 2.63 seconds ahead of 2nd place finisher freshman Canada of Monacan High School, which is a lifetime best for her. Tankard’s previous best was from this meet last year (1:49.51). Tankard also set the Class 4 record in the 100 butterfly (53.27), an event she won by more than three-seconds. This was another lifetime best for Tankard. 

Sophomore Wyllo Hanson of Jamestown High School, an Auburn commit, won the 50 free in Class 4 record time (22.95), winning by just over one-second. Hanson was also a member of the winning 200 and 400 freestyle relays. 

Canada, who was the runner up in the 200 freestyle, tied the Class 4 record en-route to winning the 100 freestyle (51.67). She now co-owns the record with Allison Kopac, who set that record in 2019. 

Girls’ Winners

  • 200 medley relay: Monacan High School, 1:46.04 (VHSL Class 4 record)
  • 200 freestyle: Kyleigh Tankard, Grafton High School, 1:49.37 (VHSL Class 4 record)
  • 200 IM: Amanda Barnard, Patrick Henry High School, 2:03.15
  • 50 freestyle: Wyllo Hanson, Jamestown High School, 22.95
  • 100 butterfly: Kyleigh Tankard, Grafton High School, 53.27 (VHSL Class 4 record)
  • 100 freestyle: Raegan Canada, Monacan High School, 51.67 (VHSL Class 4 record)
  • 500 freestyle: Amanda Barnard, Patrick Henry High School, 4:55.00
  • 200 freestyle relay: Jamestown High School, 1:37.61
  • 100 backstroke: Molly Ivie, Atlee High School, 56.79
  • 100 breaststroke: Rachael Brown, Monacan High School, 1:03.55
  • 400 freestyle relay: Jamestown High School, 3:32.85

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11 months ago

I anticipate some epic races between Heilman and Maximus Williamson in the years to come!

11 months ago

TH is certainly a teenage phenom with all of these NAG records and superb high school times. However, as a very old teacher and coach, I wonder if, over the past several months, all of the public exposure and hype have been for the best. His parents know best, of course, but I’m just asking the question.

11 months ago

1.) relax it’s swimming nobody’s really paying attention

2.) they haven’t gone out of their way with the publicity. He just did something that’s probably never been done or even approached in age group swimming when he laid waste to that many NAG records in that short a span.

Reply to  Pvdh
11 months ago

. . . something to be devoutly hoped for as the case. . .

11 months ago

There is a good chance that his recent performance will end up being the highlight of his swimming career. Hopefully he enjoyed it. What would you say to him if he was your kid? I’m going switch you to the high school band. Tuba or maybe cello. If you fight me on it it will be the flute.

11 months ago

He’s the nicest kid. He’s got a ton of fans and is incredibly kind and gracious on deck. I’d say he is handling it quite well. Kudos to his parents as well.

11 months ago

Unless the West Albermarle next best 50 backstroker was a 25 plus, what was their coach thinking by putting T. Heilman on the back leg and not the fly? Should easily be a 20 mid, on a relay start, based off his 100 fly.

I say this for the sake of the VSHL record which I see is at 1:30 plus, I would think they’d have had a legitimate chance at that with a monster split by Heilman on fly.

Otherwise, thank you for covering high school meets!!!! Love to see these articles.

Last edited 11 months ago by HighSchoolSwimEnthusiast
Reply to  HighSchoolSwimEnthusiast
11 months ago

FWIW, found their results from a midseason invite and their regional meet, which were two instances where Heilman swam fly instead of back. WA’s backstroker led off in 26.5/26.1, and Heilman split 21.49/21.1 on fly.

Reply to  HighSchoolSwimEnthusiast
11 months ago

WA was always going to win that event but Thomas was the best option against Brendan Whitfield who split a 22.49 in finals. Brendan and Thomas have gone head to head in the backstroke several times this year and I’ve never seen him swim it quite so well. The back may never be a record breaking event for TH but that swim was pretty incredible to watch and probably the only challenge for Thomas at this meet…though BW gave him a real run for his money in the 50 free. 😃

Reply to  HighSchoolSwimEnthusiast
11 months ago

Coach Bledsoe knows exactly what he’s doing. Guy knows the sport inside and out.