After Golden World Juniors, Maximus Williamson Appears Ready for Prime Time

Maximus Williamson -- Photo Courtesy: Peter H. Bick

After Golden World Juniors, Maximus Williamson Appears Ready for Prime Time

In the months after Maximus Williamson made his first international racing appearance at the Junior Pan Pacific Championships, the Southlake, Texas, native went on a streak of breaking National Age Group records across freestyle, backstroke and individual medley. But there is a moment in every star swimmer’s career when they officially make the jump from talented prospect to acclaimed performer.

After fellow high school junior Thomas Heilman made the jump over the summer as he qualified for the World Championships and then nearly stole away a medal in the 200 butterfly final, Williamson crossed over into new territory over the last week in Netanya, Israel at the World Junior Championships. A quick recap of what Williamson accomplished in the days immediately following his 17th birthday.

  • So much relay success: Williamson led the Americans to four relay gold medals and one silver. In addition to the aforementioned mixed relay leadoff, Williamson split 47.78, 47.74 and 47.57. No other swimmer went sub-48 in a relay split all meet, and he appears ready to help the U.S. men on the senior-level in relays. At the World Championships, Jack Alexy split 47.56 on a bronze-medal-winning 400 free relay while Chris Guiliano was 47.77. Additionally, Williamson led off the winning 800 free relay in 1:47.11.

Following this meet, an Olympic berth for Williamson next year, when he will still be 17 and getting ready for his senior year of high school, suddenly looks plausible. Williamson has talent across numerous events, having qualified for the B-final in the 100 free, 200 free and 200 IM at U.S. Nationals while also placing 17th in the 400 IM prelims, but expect a strong focus on his two gold-medal events from Netanya, the 200 IM and 100 free, at the Olympic Trials in June.

Those two races sometimes conflict on the schedule at major meets, but not in the schedule for the Olympics and Olympic Trials, with the 100 free set for day four (prelims and semifinals) and day five (final) and the 200 IM on day six (prelims and semifinals) and day seven (final) at both meets. Huge drops elevated Williamson this year, and he won’t even have to maintain that ridiculous rate of improvement to make it to Paris.

In the 100 free, Williamson dropped from 50.14 to 48.38 in one year. Expect any sub-48 swim in the 100 free to be enough for a top-six spot and an Olympic berth. In the 200 IM, the improvement was from from 1:59.01 to 1:57.29, and Shaine Casas and Carson Foster were the only Americans to swim faster than Williamson this year.

Because of the late finish to his 2023 summer season after the World Junior Championships, Williamson will have nine months to prepare for the all-important qualifying meet, when a crowd of around 30,000 spectators are expected to watch one of the highest-pressure meets in the world at Lucas Oil Stadium. Now, Williamson enters this stretch run charged with all-important momentum.

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Light Work
Light Work
7 months ago

Maximus no longer lives in Southlake Texas. He lives in Keller Texas and attends Keller High School.

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