Fraternal twins Aaron and Reuben Williams have been inseparable over the last decade, especially in the pool.
The duo has spent those 10 years bettering themselves and their times in a sport that went from hobby to passion. In the process, they ended up rewriting the record books for Williamstown boys swimming, while helping to put the team on the map in the sport’s South Jersey community.
Now, after a plethora of individual and team accomplishments during their high-school careers, the twins are preparing to go their separate ways for college, with Aaron headed to Lehigh University and Reuben to Rider University.
“I’m going to miss him a lot; saying that is an understatement,” Reuben said of his brother. “We’ve been inseparable since the time we were born, but I think it’ll be a good opportunity for us to grow into our own individual people and explore ourselves outside of just being known as ‘the twins.’”
Before that next stage of their individual lives, the siblings both acknowledge that getting to where they are now would have been impossible without each other’s help along the way.
“I wouldn’t be as fast as I am now without his help, and vice versa, because we’ve just pushed each other in meets and practices over and over and over again,” Aaron said. “We just kept building off of that over the years, until we got to the point that we’re at now.”
Getting to that point was no small feat: Aaron and Reuben have etched their names at the top of every record book in Williamstown swimming history except one. Aaron holds the individual record for the 200-meter freestyle, 50-meter freestyle, 100-meter butterfly and 100-meter backstroke, while Reuben claims the 100-meter breaststroke, 100-meter freestyle and 200-meter individual medley.
The pair are also a part of the program’s three relay records and have both qualified for the Meet of Champions for several events during high school. Aaron is the first in program history to qualify during his freshman year before becoming the first Meet of Champions winner four years later.
Their impact and legacy have been tremendous, according to head coach Matthew Dicken.
“There’s certain sports at Williamstown where we’ve had more success than others, and for swimming to have been able to get a name for itself because of the hard work of these two guys over their four years has been amazing,” he said. “They’ve always had friendly competition … I give these boys a lot of credit for what they were able to accomplish.
“You have to work so hard year ‘round to even shave off a second, but they really set goals for themselves and got what they wanted because of their work ethic and mental toughness when it comes to swimming,’ Dicken added.
The eyes of South Jersey have been on the Williams twins since their freshman year, according to their coach. But the recent Meet of Champions allowed them to finally get some well-deserved recognition statewide, following performances from both that earned them spots on the podium in two races a piece. That feat was capped off by Aaron’s first-place finish in the 50-meter freestyle.
“It was super exciting to get back to the Meet of Champions in general with so many top-level swimmers there,” Aaron said. “My goal was to try to win in at least one of the events that I was the top-seed in.
“I wanted to go out as best as I possibly could, and I knew winning would’ve been the best possible way to end.”