2022 US Open Water Junior National Championships
- April 1st- April 3rd, 2022
- Lynn Hall Park, Fort Myers Beach, FL
- Open Water
- Meet Central
- Psych Sheet
- Live Stream
It was cloudy and humid at Fort Myers Beach Sunday morning when 16-year-old Tokyo Olympian and 10k National champion Katie Grimes won the girls’ Junior National 7.5k race. This completed a Sandpipers sweep of the event as her teammate Ilya Kharun won the boys’ Junior National 7.5k.
2022 U.S. Junior National 7.5k – Top 3 Finishers
The top 8 finishers (unofficially, per USA Swimming’s live stream) are:
- Katie Grimes (SAND)
- Claire Stuhlmacher (UN-Fsla)
- Mary McKenna Long Island Express)
- Sofia Giordano (Long Island Aquatic)
- Elsa Fullerton (Loveland)
- Kaimakana Flanagan (Kamehameha)
- Courtney Watts (Machine)
- Cadence Fort (Gulf Coast)
Grimes established a 6-body-length lead early on in the race, her blue and yellow Sandpipers cap visible far ahead of the field. The packs behind her also set a fast pace, quickly creating large separations between the groups. 15-year-old Claire Stuhlmacher, 16-year-old Cadence Fort of Gulf Coast, and 16-year-old Courtney Watts of Machine Aquatics were up in that first pack trailing Grimes for most of the race.
Heading into lap four, Grimes’ lead swelled to about 42 seconds as she continued to swim in a pack of her own. This lead was insurmountable and she finished in first place. The swimmers behind her made big moves on the final two laps where four athletes overtook Fort and Watts – Long Island Express’s Mary McKenna, Long Island Aquatic’s Sofia Giordano, Loveland’s Elsa Fullerton, and Kamehameha’s Kaimakana Flanagan.
This meet serves as a selection process for the 2022 U.S. Open Water National Junior Team and the 2022 FINA World Junior Open Water Championships Team. First place in the Junior National 7.5k earns a spot on the National Junior team while the top two male and female finishers in the 16-17 age group qualify for the World Junior team roster, according to USA Swimming.
Grimes is already part of the U.S. National Team after winning the 10k, and she qualifies in the pool in the 800 and 1500 freestyle. This means she is ineligible for the National Junior Team and the spot goes to Stuhlmacher.
But, Grimes is eligible for the World Junior team and has earned the first spot with her 7.5k win. Stuhlmacher’s birthday falls between July and September, meaning she will also be within the 16-17 age group by the end of the year and therefore qualifies for the second World Junior team spot.