Maximus Williamson Beats Andrew’s Former NAG Record in 200 IM at Juniors West; Rex Maurer Shines in 500 Free
It was a banner night for young individual medley swimmers in the United States. At Junior Nationals East in Greensboro, N.C., Thomas Heilman annihilated the 15-16 boys’ National Age Group record in the 200 IM, swimming a mark of 1:41.71 to beat the previous mark of 1:42.77 set by Michael Andrew by more than a second. An hour later at the West edition of Junior Nationals, Maximus Williamson nearly matched Heilman’s remarkable mark.
Williamson, representing Lakeside Aquatic Club, led the A-final early on fell behind Nathaniel Germonprez on the breaststroke leg before he retook the lead with a blistering 24.02 freestyle leg. Williamson touched in 1:42.07, only 0.35 seconds behind Heilman’s time from earlier in the night. Williamson was a second ahead of his previous lifetime best (1:43.16). Germonprez, representing Inspire, took second in 1:42.82, his best time by almost two seconds, while Texas Ford’s Jacob Wimberly took third in 1:44.08.
In addition to Williamson’s sterling effort, Rose Bowl’s Rex Maurer also became the second-fastest swimmer ever in his age group. In the 500 freestyle, Maurer pulled away on the last 100 from Alec Enyeart, a freshman at the University of Texas still eligible for Junior Nationals and racing in his home pool. Maurer finished in 4:12.33, well off the 17-18 NAG record of 4:08.42 set by Luke Hobson last year but fast enough to tie the 18-year-old best time of 23-time Olympic gold medalist Michael Phelps on the all-time list. Lakeside’s Cooper Lucas took third in 4:14.53.
Shortly after becoming the third-fastest performer in history in the women’s 500 free, Sandpipers’ Bella Sims returned to race the 200 IM, and she responded with another dominant performance. She won the event in 1:52.73 to become the third-fastest 17-18 girl in U.S. history behind Kate Douglass and Ella Eastin, and Sims also moved to 18th all-time in the event while beating the meet record of 1:53.50 that teammate Katie Grimes set last year. Mission Viejo’s Teagan O’Dell took second in 1:55.61, while Elmbrook’s Campbell Stoll placed third in 1:58.05.
Empire’s Avery Karl won a tight race in the women’s 50 free in 22.22 ahead of Rebecca Diaconescu (22.31) and Hailey Tierney (22.33). The men’s edition of the event went to Palo Alto’s Ethan Harrington over Diggory Dillingham (19.57) and Cade Duncan (19.71).
The Sandpipers of Nevada shined one more time in the women’s 400 medley relay as Grimes, Lucy Warnick, Sims and Claire Weinstein earned the win in 3:34.26. In her third race of the night, Sims was the standout with a 51.36 butterfly split. The Sandpipers got the better of the Mission Viejo Nadadores by just three tenths as O’Dell, Maddie Phillips, Asia Kozan and Teia Salvino took second in 3:34.53. The University of Denver Hilltoppers’ Charlotte Wilson, Charlotte Burnham, Lexi Greenhawt and Lawson Ficken took third in 3:36.74.
The Aquajets team of Luke Logue, Charlie Egeland, Drew Ploof and Henry Webb dominated the men’s 400 medley with a time of 3:11.79 while Longhorn Aquatics’ Daniel Li, Andrew Zou, Rowan Cox and Matthew Stephenson edged out Rose Bowl’s Ray Liu, Edward Kim, Zach Larrick and Nathan Kim for second place, 3:16.13 to 3:16.17.