Record-breaking performance from Cavalier Aquatics swim team at 2022 Junior National Championships
CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. (WVIR) - A group of eight swimmers from Cavalier Aquatics stood out earlier this month at the prestigious Junior National Championships.
The group, comprised of Thomas and Matthew Heilman, David King, Teddy Cross, Will Browne, Jack Smith, Izzy Bradley, and Morgan Thomas, had an impressive showing that included a record-breaking performance.
The Junior National Championships were held in Irvine, California, where more than a thousand swimmers representing about 150 teams from around the United States competed.
NBC29′s Marty Hudtloff joined the group of elite youth swimmers at an early Friday morning practice to catch up on their stunning performance in Irvine.
“Swimming out there, I definitely learned that we’ve earned our spot. To swim against some of the best swimmers in the nation; I learned that on my best day I can compete with those guys out there,” Jack Smith said.
The boys team from Cavalier Aquatics finished in fourth place overall.
“The coaches push me really hard, and that helps me push myself because they want the best for me,” Teddy Cross said.
Thomas Heilman was especially impressive, coming second in the 100-meter butterfly, and finishing with the fastest time ever by a 15-year old.
He also won the 100-meter freestyle, breaking a U.S. record and becoming the first 15-year old to finish in under 50 seconds.
“It was for sure exciting, I knew a lot of the guys in the race with me. We all swam well and were happy for each other, so it was a great experience. When I touched the wall first, it was really just a great moment,” Heilman said.
This squad from Charlottesville was the top team at nationals from the state of Virginia.
“I take swimming very seriously. Six days a week, countless hours, a lot of practice, and a lot more behind the scenes than anyone would think. Hard work and determination pays off,” David King said.
“When you are here on a daily basis, you see all the effort they put into it. Seeing their willingness to embrace the process and trust me as their coach, and to then go out there and see all the hard work pay off and come to fruition with some very impressive performances, this is why we do it,” Coach Gary Taylor said. “I’m really proud, not only of the way they performed, but just the way they represent. They’re really good kids.”
“I think you hear this out of everyone who swims, but the final goal is to make it to the Olympics, so one day hopefully I’ll be able to fulfill that dream and that coach,” Heilman said.
Matthew Heilman and Izzy Bradley are both headed to the University of Virginia to swim.
Teddy Cross will be on the swim team at Loyola in Maryland.
The others all aspire to be Division One swimmers, and the sky’s the limit.
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