Thomas Heilman Swims New Personal Best in 100 Breast Weekend Before Winter Juniors

Braden Keith
by Braden Keith 4

December 06th, 2022 News

North Carolina Capital Classic

  • December 1-4, 2022
  • Triangle Aquatic Center, Cary, North Carolina
  • Short Course Yards (25 yards), prelims/finals
  • Full meet results

15-year-old age group star Thomas Heilman of Cavalier Aquatics swam just one session of the North Carolina Capital Classic last weekend, but he made that one session count.

He swam 19.79 in the 50-yard free, 3:52.91 in the 400 IM, and a new personal best of 56.62 in the 100 breaststroke as a preview for the upcoming Winter Junior Championships in Greensboro this weekend. His previous best time in the 100 breaststroke was a 56.83 done in March at the Virginia Swimming Short Course Senior Championships.

That time would make him one of the better breaststroke recruits in the high school class of 2025, and it’s arguably not even one of his 10 best events.

Heilman was one of a number of Winter Juniors qualifiers from Cavalier Aquatics who made the three-and-a-half hour drive (each way) from Charlottesville for one session of racing. Cavalier Aquatics, via its merger with the Piedmont Family YMCA team, is a YMCA club.

As part of the eligibility requirement for the YMCA National Championships, athletes have to attend three in-season closed YMCA meets and one closed YMCA Championship meet. The YOTA Capital Classic satisfied the championship meet requirement, head coach Gary Taylor said.

They did the same thing last season, where Heilman swam new best times in both the 100 free (43.51) and 200 IM (1:46.61).

Heilman wasn’t the only young star performer of the meet. 16-year old Owen Nye of the Greensboro YMCA swam new personal best times in all five of his individual events, including wins in the 500, 1000, and 1650 freestyles.

Nye’s results:

  • 100 free – 48.10 (47.76 in prelims)
  • 200 free – 1:41.81
  • 500 free – 4:29.80 (WIN)
  • 1000 free – 9:26.41 (WIN)
  • 1650 free – 15:47.52 (WIN)

Nye, an uncommitted high school junior, is not currently entered in the Winter Junior Championships – East meet in his home pool in Greensboro. His five second drop this weekend in the 500 free does qualify him for the meet, though. He also dropped four seconds in the 1000 free and nine seconds in the mile. That gives him bonus standards in both events.

Other Notable Boys’ Results:

  • Nathan Welker from York YMCA in Pennsylvania won five races and swam personal bests in six events. That was highlighted by a 58.31 in the 100 backstroke and a 3:57.74 in the 400 IM – a best time by 4.5 seconds. Welker swam well at this meet last year too when he put up best times in seven events.
  • Heilman’s Cavalier teammate Brayden King swam 15:49.25 in the mile to finish 2nd behind Nye. In two swims this season, he has dropped 14 seconds in that event. He is not going to Winter Juniors, so he stuck around for more of the meet and was rewarded with personal bests in three events, including a YMCA Nationals cut in the 200 free of 1:43.99.

Greensboro’s Reina Liu was the top performer on the girls’ side of the meet, winning a whopping 7 individual gold medals in 7 entries. That included best times in all 7 events.

Liu’s results:

  • 200 free – 1:57.21
  • 500 free – 5:21.04
  • 100 back – 56.21
  • 200 back – 2:04.80
  • 100 fly – 58.21
  • 200 fly – 2:12.16
  • 200 IM – 2:10.44

That included a number of head-to-head battles with Eva Beekman from the Northwest North Carolina YMCA Riptyde, who picked up a number of personal best times and two wins of her own.

They were two of just four girls who won races at the meet. That includes four victories from York’s Emily Way. She posted a new best time of 49.81 in the 100 free, which shaved .01 seconds off her previous best time from this meet last year. She also won the 200 free (1:48.89) in a personal best.

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2 months ago

I wonder how well he fits in to the breaststroke class of 2018.

2 months ago

think it should be a 48.3 for Welker’s backstroke. No shade, but 58.3 for a 100 backstroke seems off for someone that broke 4 minutes in the 4-IM…

Gummy Shark
2 months ago

This kid is unreal! or should I say young man!

2 months ago

i just spoke to Thomas Heilman

He told be he wants to join a particular school with the following qualifications:

-The school must be in Texas
-The school must be a division 1 powerhouse
-The school mascot must be a horse

I think he’s really leaning toward swimming for the Mustangs of Southern Methodist University

About Braden Keith

Braden Keith

Braden Keith is the Editor-in-Chief and a co-founder/co-owner of He first got his feet wet by building The Swimmers' Circle beginning in January 2010, and now comes to SwimSwam to use that experience and help build a new leader in the sport of swimming. Aside from his life on the InterWet, …

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