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Thomas Heilman and Maximus Williamson Commit to Virginia For Swimming

Jay Wei

Thomas Heilman and Maximus Williamson commit to Virginia on the same day.


Just two weeks ago, the University of Virginia Swim team posted on their Instagram a reel captioned, “THE ENTIRE SWIMMING WORLD JUST TURNED UPSIDE-DOWN!!” What was thought to be a hype video for the upcoming NCAA D1 Season was revealed three days later by five swimmers from the class of 2025, committing to the Virginia Men’s team. What was even more surprising was the fact that four out of these five commits were in the top 20 on Swimswam’s “Way-too-early class of 2025 rankings”. The group of commits included numbers 1 and 2 on the rankings, teenage superstars Thomas Heilman and Maximus Williamson. Both already being arguably the fastest high schoolers in history, questions of whether Virginia is in search of building a superteam are circling within the swim community.


Virginia Swimming


The University of Virginia has been one of the top teams in the NCAA Swimming D1 in the past few years. Success has been highlighted by the Women’s team, who completed the treble by winning the NCAA in 2021, 2022, and 2023. With the help of some of the fastest swimmers in the world such as Kate Douglass, Alex Walsh, Gretchen Walsh, and Claire Curzan, the Virginia Women delivered one of the fastest performances in NCAA Championships history, breaking multiple NCAA records and posting the fastest times in the world. The men’s side, on the other hand, finished 15th at the 2023 NCAA Championships and did not match the success of their women’s team. However, the Cavaliers men haven’t been excluded from D1 college swim discussions. Just last week, the Cavaliers took the headlines on Swimswam and other swim media by snatching a win in a special dual meet against the Texas Longhorns. Both men and women prevailed, winning 109-58 and 119-48 respectively. 


Recruiting top 20 swimmers like Thomas Heilman, Maximus Williamson, Thomas Mercer, and Josh Howat will not only help the Cavaliers win more dual meets and earn more points at NCAA, but it will also create a versatile team that has people specializing in each stroke. 


Thomas Heilman


Ranked number one on the Swimswam’s “Way-too-early class of 2025 rankings”, Thomas Heilman specializes in butterfly events and holds the top times of his class in four different individual events. He is undoubtedly one of the most accomplished teenagers in the sport of swimming accumulating a total amount of 23 National Age Group Records (NAG). Over the summer, Heilman represented Team USA at the 2023 Fukuoka World Championships. Being the youngest member on the team, Heilman went 1:53.82 in the 200 fly to tie Ilya Kharun for fourth place. This time put Heilman at the fastest ever 18 and under from the United States in this event, as well as continuing to shatter his own record in this event, which had previously been a world record set by 16-year-old Michael Phelps at the 2001 World Championships before Heilman broke it at the 2023 International Team Trials. With all that said, Heilman’s experience at an international and professional level could greatly benefit the Cavaliers by providing them with what could be one of the fastest fliers in the upcoming years.


Maximus Williamson


Without a doubt, being the most versatile swimmer in his class, Maximus Williamson ranks 2nd in the class of 2025, just behind Thomas Heilman. Holding six of the best times in his class, Williamson specializes in pretty much every mid-distance to sprint event, only lacking in breaststroke. Similar to Heilman, Williamson has a history of breaking NAGs as well as representing Team USA at an international level. He competed at the 2023 World Junior Championships in Netanya, Israel, earning two individual gold medals (100 free: 48.45, 200 IM: 1:57.29) and four relay golds, including a blistering 47.57 100 free split to anchor the 400 medley relay. His strength of having multiple events in which he could dominate during swimming season could help the Cavaliers earn more points across a variety of events at dual meets and championship meets. 


What’s Next?


By recruiting Heilman and Williamson, the Cavaliers have built a solid group of swimmers that could potentially change the course of their swimming program. Outside of Heilman and Williamson, however, the class of 2025 is relatively weaker compared to previous classes. The Cavaliers may be looking to seek swimmers from other classes, such as the class of 2026 or the class of 2027. Rising stars like Luka Mijatovic, who broke nearly every NAG in the books for 13-14 mid-distance/distance free events, Ian Call, who broke the 100 breaststroke NAG (1:02.22 LCM), and others may be in question for future recruitment, not only for the Cavaliers but all D1 competing colleges. Only time will tell as faster times are produced in the upcoming years.

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