VA High School State Champion Matthew Heilman Commits to Virginia (2022)

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High school senior Matthew Heilman has announced his commitment to the University of Virginia. The local Charlottesville product is expected to arrive in the fall of 2022.

Matthew Heilman is the older brother of Thomas Heilman, who has broken over a dozen National Age Group Records in the last year as a 13-14.

Matthew Heilman and his younger brother Thomas combined to lead Western Albermarle High School to the Virginia High School State Championships last week, more-than-doubling the output of the runners-up from Blacksburg High.

Matthew Heilman trains with Cavalier Aquatics/CYAC – a club that formed by the merger last year of the University of Virginia post-grad group and the local YMCA program. That means he shares deck space and a club affiliation with University of Virginia swimmers already.

Matthew Heilman won an individual state title in the 200 IM (1:51.45) and was second in the 100 breaststroke (56.68), as well as swimming on the winning 200 free relay and second-place 400 free relay.

His best events are not on the high schools schedule: the 400 IM and 200 breast. He swam those races, along with the 200 IM and 100 breast, at the Speedo Winter Junior Championships – East in December. There, he qualified for the C Final in the 200 breast, placing 22nd overall.

His shift to those longer events began more moving out of the pandemic, which coincided with Gary Taylor, best known for his work with distance athletes, taking over as the program’s head coach.

Matthew Heilman Event Progression

200 IM 400 IM 200 Breast
Senior 1:51.27 3:58.05 2:01.74
Junior 1:53.85 4:03.19 2:02.19
Sophomore 1:58.52 4:27.56 2:18.49
Freshman 2:03.40 4:24.98 2:12.33

Matthew Heilman Best Times, Short Course Yards

  • 200 IM – 1:51.27
  • 400 IM – 3:50.05
  • 100 breast – 56.22
  • 200 breast – 2:01.74

Heilman’s best times are slower than the typical recent Virginia recruit, but his progression (and his proximity to the school) makes him a potential developmental pickup for the Cavaliers. The men’s and women’s teams already have two other local athletes on their roster – August Lamb and Athena Vanyo.

This year, it took 3:54.14 in the 400 IM, 1:46.94 in the 200 IM, and 1:59.29 in the 200 breaststroke to qualify for the scoring C finals at the ACC Championships.

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K chilly
8 months ago

Interesting question regarding Thomas. I remember as a younger kid I didn’t want to be a “copy cat” and follow in my older brothers footsteps. I wonder if he will decide to test the waters with different college experiences or follow the path of his brother

Terry Watts
9 months ago


9 months ago

*didnt read the article oops

Last edited 9 months ago by coachymccoachface
Lil Swimmy
9 months ago

it’s like nepotism but like,,,in advance

Reply to  Lil Swimmy
9 months ago

Obviously any coach will look down the family tree. Yes, it increases your chances of landing a potentially generational recruit but big bro is showing solid progression with a high genetic upside. Matthew may have had a later start. He starts crushing it, is really happy because of it, and talking it up to his brother? Win win win!

Slower than You
Reply to  Lil Swimmy
9 months ago

It definitely helps recruit him, but there’s no guarantee Thomas will go there just because of family ties. I wouldn’t be surprised if they attend different schools a la the Lasco brothers (Destin’s older brother is at Lehigh).

Reply to  Slower than You
9 months ago

UVA has had a lot of top notch sibling duos on the team in the past 15-20 years- Fran and Claire Crippen, Luke and Caitlin Anderson, Lauren and Meredith Perdue, Zach and Josh Fong, Alex and Gretchen Walsh…some that come to mind. Maybe Thomas and Matthew will join the list.

Swim Mom
Reply to  CavaDore
9 months ago

Ella Nelson pathed the way for the Walsh sisters. I was actually surprised that the three did not follow Allie Rabb.

Reply to  Swim Mom
9 months ago

I don’t think any of those Nashville swimmers is regretting their decision . . .

Reply to  Swim Mom
8 months ago

And before Ella there was JUlia Jane Eskew! Ella decided on UVA because of Julia, Alex followed Ella, and Gretchen followed Alex. One can argue that recruiting Julia might have be one of the best decisions UVA made!

Reply to  CavaDore
9 months ago

But Teresa Crippen went to Florida, so I think everyone still looks at the right place for them. Kaitlyn Harty went to TX and then transferred to TN to find the right place for herself. I know when I was looking at colleges, and did the same events as my older brother, he told me that it was his school and his experience and I needed to go look elsewhere.

Reply to  Slower than You
9 months ago

I would think it would depend on how Matthew likes it at UVA. Do they have what he wants academically? How is he treated by the coaches, support staff, etc.

9 months ago

Does he train at UVA pool?

Mr. Pancake
Reply to  Joe
9 months ago

CYAC does not train at the UVA AFC

9 months ago

is that 200 br time correct for his sophomore year?

Reply to  Braden Keith
9 months ago

4IM discrepancy though, 3:50 or 3:58?

9 months ago

Let’s call a spade a spade- smart move on the UVA’s coaching staff’s part because this could open the door to securing a verbal from Thomas Heilman in a couple years.

Reply to  CavaDore
9 months ago

Probably why the old coach was forced out to bring Gary in too.

Reply to  Swimfan
9 months ago

What makes you think Mike was forced out

9 months ago

Congrats Matt! he has potential to drop major amounts of time at UVA next year in his events looking forward to watching him.

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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