Claire Weinstein

View Archive photo via Jack Spitzer

Claire Weinstein is a world champion as a part of the United States’ winning 800 free relay at the 2022 World Champs. She is also a multiple-time NAG record holder. 

Born in White Plains, New York, Weinstein began swimming competitively at the age of 6 at Westchester Aquatics Club under Carle Fierro, the same childhood team of American Kate Douglass. Weinstein took to the water quickly and displayed plenty of natural talent. She later moved to Las Vegas to train with the Sandpipers of Nevada. 

College Swimming

In mid-September 2023, Weinstein announced her verbal commitment to the University of California, Berkeley. It was a huge get for Dave Durden, who had recently taken over the women’s program as Weinstein was ranked #3 in the Way Too Early rankings for the class of 2025. The announcement came just hours after Alex Shackell, the #1 recruit in the high school class of 2025, sent her verbal pledge to the Golden Bears. Shackell, the top 50/100/200 freestyler (as well as 100/200 flyer) in the class perfectly complimented Weinstein’s class-leading 500/1000/1650. Weinstein’s 500 free best time at the time (4:33.03) was miles ahead of what won the 2023 NCAA title (4:36.62). Together, the two are one of the highest-profile recruited pairs in history with both having world championship medals and might breathe life into hopes for a top-4 NCAA resurgence for the Cal women.

National/International Career

2021 US Olympic Trials 

In February 2021, at only 13-years-old, Weinstein became one of the youngest swimmers to qualify for the 2021 US Olympic Trials. She did so by hitting a time of 8:45.34 in the 800 freestyle, dipping well under the standard of 8:48.09. Later in the season, Weinstein also cracked the qualifying marks in the 200 freestyle and 400 freestyle. 

In Omaha, Weinstein competed in all three events, finishing 20th in the 400 freestyle, 28th in the 200 freestyle, and 34th in the 800 freestyle. 

200 Freestyle National Age-Group Record

A few weeks after the conclusion of Trials, Weinstein competed at the 2021 TYR Senior Metropolitan Summer Championships. On the opening night of the meet, Weinstein split a 1:58.95 leading off her team’s 4×200 freestyle relay, coming within .42 of Sippy Woodhead’s legendary 13-14 NAG from 1982. 

After nearly breaking the mark again on a few occasions, Weinstein tied Woodhead’s record in February 2022 with a time of 1:58.53. With her swim, she took down one of the oldest 13-14 NAG records on the books. 

2022 US Open Water Nationals 

Joining a group of her Sandpiper teammates, Weinstein won the Junior National 5k Title at the 2022 US Open Water Nationals, booking her ticket to represent the United States at the 2022 World Junior Championships from September 1-4 in Beau Vallon, Seychelles. 

2022 US International Team Trials 

Weinstein qualified to swim 200/400/800/1500 freestyle, adding the latter of the 4 events to her schedule from Olympic Trials.

In the 200 freestyle, Weinstein qualified for finals as the 2nd seed, throwing down a new personal best of 1:57.71. With the pressure on in the final, Weinstein backed up her prelims performance. After flipping 5th at the 150 mark, Weinstein powered home to overtake the likes of Alex Walsh and her Sandpiper teammate Bella Sims to hit the wall in a time of 1:57.08. She finished only behind Olympic legend Katie Ledecky, managing to grab both an individual spot and a relay spot on the US Team for the 2022 World Championships. Weinstein’s time from that swim ranks her as the fastest 15-year-old of all time and the 3rd fastest 15-16 year old in history only behind Missy Franklin and Ledecky. 

During the meet, Weinstein also threw down best times in all of her other events and finished  fourth in the 1500 free (16:22.78), fifth in the 800 free (8:29.34) and sixth in the 400 free (4:09.39). 

2022 World Championships

On day 3 of the meet, Weinstein swam her sole individual event, the 200 freestyle. She threw down a time of 1:58.76 in prelims to qualify for the semi-finals in 15th. In a crowded semi-final field, Weinstein produced a best time of 1:56.94. However, she finished 10th, keeping her out of the event’s final. 

On day 5, Weinstein competed on the US Team for the prelims of the 4×200 freestyle relay alongside Alex Walsh, Hali Flickinger, and Bella Sims. She split a 1:58.35, which was significantly slower than her swim in the individual 200 freestyle, raising some doubts as to if she would be put on the finals relay alongside Katie Ledecky and Leah Smith. Ultimately, the coaches elected to put Weinstein on the lead-off leg of the finals relay. The decision paid off as Weinstein threw down a new personal best of 1:56.71, swimming alongside Leah Smith (1:56.47), Katie Ledecky (1:53.67) and Bella Sims (1:54.60) to win the gold medal. The team’s final time of 7:41.45 set a new Championship Record and stands at the 4th fastest swim in history.

2022 Winter Jr Champs – West

Weinstein had a breakout short course meet as a part of the on-fire Sandpipers of Nevada. On Day 1, she teamed up with Bella Sims, Katie Grimes, and Macky Hodges to anchor an 800 free relay (1:44.02) that not only broke the 15-18 NAG but would have paced 2nd at the previous years’ NCAA Championships.

The next night, she once again made history as part of a 1-2-3 sandpipers finish in the 500 free, where her teammates Sims and Grimes both broke 4:30 and Weinstein (4:33.03) was 1 of 4 women who swam faster than the previous years winning time at NCAA Championships.

On the last night, she again anchored the Sandpipers’ 400 free relay, breaking their 2nd NAG as Weinstein split 48.70.

LCM 800 Free Relay NAG

After having already broken the 15-18 800 free relay NAG in short course yards, the Sandpipers didn’t waste much time once the 2023 long course season started. At the 2023 Fran Crippen Swim Meet of Champions, Weinstein split a field-best 1:58.48 as the 3rd leg to help the Sandpipers go 7:58.93, cutting more than 2 seconds off the previous record held by North Baltimore Aquatic Club.

2023 U.S. International Team Trials (Indianapolis, Indiana)

After dropping a solid 800 free on night 1, in the 200 free on day 2 she posted a best time in the 200 free prelims for 2nd. The 1:56.27 dropped a lot off the 1:56.71 she posted to lead off the gold-winning 4×200 free relay at the 2022 World Championships. In the final, Weinstein moved through the field to 2nd at the 150 before dropping the hammer on the final 50 to sneak past Katie Ledecky in a new best time of 1:55.26. The swim was more than a second drop and beat Ledecky by .02 seconds. 

2023 World Aquatics Championships (Fukuoka, Japan)

In the 200 free, Weinstein was 1:57.93 in prelims to qualify 12th but missed the final with a 1:57.93 in semis.

International Medals

Place Event Year Meet
Gold 800 Freestyle Relay 2022 World Championships

Best Times

Course Event Time Date Meet
lcm 200 Free 1:56.71 06/22/22 2022 FINA World Championships
Budapest, Hungary
lcm 400 Free 4:06.24 03/02/23 2023 Pro Swim Series - Ft. Lauderdale
Ft. Lauderdale, Florida
lcm 800 Free 8:25.95 04/16/23 2023 Fran Crippen SMOC
Mission Viejo, California
lcm 1500 Free 16:09.85 04/13/23 2023 Fran Crippen SMOC
Mission Viejo, California
scy 100 Free 48.76 12/10/22 2022 Winter Jr Championships - West
Austin, Texas, USA
scy 200 Free 1:43.93 12/09/22 2022 Winter Jr Championships - West
Austin, Texas, USA
scy 500 Free 4:33.03 12/08/22 2022 Winter Jr Championships - West
Austin, Texas, USA
scy 1000 Free 9:25.06 12/16/22 2022 CA SCS/RMDA WZ Winter Sectionals
La Mirada, California
scy 1650 Free 15:52.84 12/11/21 2021 Winter Jr Championships - West
Austin, Texas, USA
scy 400 IM 4:07.72 12/17/22 2022 CA SCS/RMDA WZ Winter Sectionals
La Mirada, California
USA - United States of America WEINSTEIN Claire SMITH Leah LEDECKY Katie SIMS Bella Courtesy of Fabio Cetti 2022 FINA World Swimming Championships Budapest Budapest, Duna Arena 06/19/22 Photo Fabio Cetti Claire Weinstein (photo: Jack Spitser) [Left to right] Mary McKenna (5th) Long Island Express, Katie Grimes (1st) Sandpipers of Nevada, Claire Weinstein (4th) Westchester Aquatic Club, and Bella Sims (2nd) Sandpipers of Nevada. Courtesy Carle Fierro. Claire Weinstein (photo: Jack Spitser) Claire Weinstein (photo: Jack Spitser) Claire Weinstein (photo: Jack Spitser)