Katie Grimes, Sandpipers Post Impressive Weekend at Grand Challenge

Katie Grimes -- Photo Courtesy: Peter H. Bick

Katie Grimes, Sandpipers Post Impressive Weekend at Grand Challenge

Four swimmers from the Sandpipers of Nevada club expected to make an impact at the World Championships this summer tuned up with strong performances in Irvine, Calif., at the Speedo Grand Challenge. Katie Grimes, the 17-year-old who was the World Championships silver medalist in the 1500 freestyle and 400 IM last year, captured four wins, and most impressive among those times was an 800 free performance that was her fastest in almost two years.

Grimes won the 800 free by almost 15 seconds over teammate Claire Weinstein. Grimes finished in 8:21.87, faster than her 8:22.72 from a fourth-place finish at last year’s International Team Trials and behind only her times from the 2021 Olympic Trials, when she finished second to Katie Ledecky as a 15-year-old, and two performances from the Tokyo Olympics, where she placed fourth in this race. Grimes is now the seventh-fastest swimmer in the world for 2023 and second-quickest American behind Ledecky.

Grimes also won the 400 free (4:08.57), 400 IM (4:38.01) and 200 fly (2:09.68). She has been as quick as 4:31.81 in the 400 IM this year, setting up a potential run at Katie Hoff’s 15-year-old American record later this summer, but she could not hit that level of speed this time around. Grimes wa also second to teammate Bella Sims in the 200 IM (2:12.67).

Sims, also a U.S. Olympian and the anchor swimmer on the American women’s gold-medal-winning 800 free relay at last year’s Worlds, took first in the aforementioned 200 IM (2:12.19) as well as the 100 butterfly (59.74) and 100 free (54.78). Weinstein swam a time of 1:58.62 in her 200 free victory while also placing second in the 800 free (8:36.45) and 100 free (55.07). Also standing out on the women’s side was former USC swimmer Isabelle Odgers, who swept the 100 breaststroke (1:09.78) and 200 breaststroke (2:29.42).

The three Sandpiper females are favorites to qualify for the U.S. World Championship team in the pool at next month’s U.S. Nationals (Grimes has already made it in open water) while their teammate Ilya Kharun has already booked his spot on the Canadian squad. In Irvine, he posted strong times of 51.96 in the 100 fly and 1:56.49 in the 200 fly. This year’s Worlds will be Kharun’s first time representing Canada at a major long course meet after taking silver in the 100 fly at December’s Short Course World Championships.

Rose Bowl’s Rex Maurer, who set a national high school record earlier this month in the 500-yard free, pulled off three wins at the Grand Challenge: in the 200 free (1:49.72), 400 free (3:52.70) and 100 back (55.49).

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