Thomas Heilman, The Youngest Member Of The U.S. 2023 World Championship Squad

Thomas Heilman  burst onto the swimming scene December 2021 as a 14 year old, breaking 14 National Age Group Records over 11 days competing at three swim meets, U.S. Open, the Arena Capital Classic, and Jr Nationals.  Just over 18 months later, and only 16 years, Thomas is now the youngest member of Team USA’s World Championship squad, making it in two events, 100 and 200 meter butterfly.  Heilman’s 200 fly at U.S. Trials, the 1:54.54, broke Michael Phelps’ famous National Age Group Record .

Heilman’s personal best times:

  • 100m butterfly – 51.19
  • 200m butterfly -1:54.54


He’s young, still in development. What do you hope he learns and gains from this moment in his career? I’d like to see PBs, and he stated that in his interview.   However, no matter what happens, the Team USA travel experience alone is a big gain. I would like to see him make a final, but I’d consider that a bonus. Walking out with the top 8 elites would further wire his brain in positive ways for years to come.  At the end of the day, this experience is a stepping stone, another opportunity in time for him to sharpen his sword for the future.. But who cares what I think? I want to know what you think. Drop your comments below.

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Opinions, beliefs and viewpoints of the interviewed guests do not necessarily reflect the opinions, beliefs, and viewpoints of the hosts, SwimSwam Partners, LLC and/or SwimSwam advertising partners.

This is a Gold Medal Media production presented by Host Gold Medal Mel Stewart is a 3-time Olympic medalist and the co-founder of, a Swimming News website.

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JT Thomas
2 months ago

For first time in a while it feels like the usa men have some incredibly exciting young talents coming down the pipe with winkler (assuming the fractured wrist/elbow isn’t a long term set back), diehl (badly needs some coaching on how to swim straight but his pure talent and speed is awesome), Williamson, and obviously Heilman

2 months ago

Yeah i’m nuts.

But Heilman wins 2023 WC gold in the 2 fly.

Becky D
2 months ago

“no one believed”

Huh. I guess you didn’t ask me.

Reply to  Becky D
2 months ago

I think he meant “most people.” I don’t think most people thought he would make both events, but most people thought he’d make the team.

2 months ago

What are the rules about recruiting in a situation like this? If it’s not already assumed that he’s going to Virginia, can Holloway and Nesty spend the entire trip giving him googly eyes and winks or does the NCAA put limits on what they can explicitly discuss with him? Same question applies to Weinstein, Grimes, and Shackell. Seems like this could be a less obvious side effect of Cal losing Matt Bowe if he was originally intended to be on staff as a Cal representative.

Ceccon - Kamminga - Milak - Popovici
2 months ago

This kid’s special.

Can’t wait to see what he does in near future.

2 months ago

How does that fair for his mental health? I’m sure being compared to Michael Phelps all the time gives him tremendous pressure and expectations to succeed. We’ve seen from so many previous swimmers the effects of pressure and expectations (Caleb Dressel, Missy Franklin, Michael Phelps). I think as much as we’d love to see him succeed we do have to ask questions about his well-being

Reply to  Peenerman
2 months ago

Agreed. He doesn’t need to be the next Michael Phelps. He simply needs to be the first Thomas Heilman.

Reply to  Peenerman
2 months ago

What good do you think it does him for us to ask questions about his mental health in the swimswam comments? To this point he shows every sign of being a healthy teenager from a stable family with a good head on his shoulders. Whether he ends up the next Phelps or not, he’ll probably be ok.

2 months ago

Question for the Gold-Medaled One: who was the person on deck at Trials who actually did the interview with Heilman?

Peter spamdrew
2 months ago

Good kid. See a lot of young Michael in him.

Ceccon - Kamminga - Milak - Popovici
Reply to  Peter spamdrew
2 months ago

Michael Andrew?

Last edited 2 months ago by Ceccon - Kamminga - Milak - Popovici
Little green vegetable
Reply to  Peter spamdrew
2 months ago


Reply to  Peter spamdrew
2 months ago


About Gold Medal Mel Stewart

Gold Medal Mel Stewart

MEL STEWART Jr., aka Gold Medal Mel, won three Olympic medals at the 1992 Olympic Games. Mel's best event was the 200 butterfly. He is a former World, American, and NCAA Record holder in the 200 butterfly. As a writer/producer and sports columnist, Mel has contributed to Yahoo Sports, Universal Sports, …

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