Claire Weinstein Becomes Fastest 15-Year-Old American Woman In 200m Free

by Riley Overend 21

April 27th, 2022 National


A wide-open race for second place behind Katie Ledecky did not disappoint during Wednesday’s 200m free final. 

Rising star Claire Weinstein surged past Virginia’s Alex Walsh on the last length to claim the silver medal in 1:57.08, the fastest time ever by a 15-year-old American. It also marked the third-fastest swim in the 15-16 age group behind Missy Franklin (1:55.06) and Ledecky (1:56.32), who won Wednesday’s final in 1:55.15.

Weinstein, who swims for Sandpipers of Nevada along with fellow finalists Bella Sims (fifth place) and Katie Grimes (eighth place), qualified for her first World Championships in Budapest at the end of June. She is set to become the youngest U.S. swimmer to race individually at the Olympics or worlds since Elizabeth Beisel in 2007.

All-Time American 15-16 Women’s 200 Freestyle Rankings (LCM)

  1. Missy Franklin – 1:55.06 (2011)
  2. Katie Ledecky – 1:56.32 (2013)
  3. Claire Weinstein – 1:57.08 (2022)
  4. Bella Sims – 1:57.53 (2021)
  5. Claire Weinstein – 1:57.71 (2022)
  6. Dagny Knutson – 1:57.73 (2009)
  7. Claire Tuggle – 1:58.21 (2019)
  8. Sippy Woodhead – 1:58.23 (1979)
  9. Quinn Carrozza – 1:58.31 (2013)
  10. Chelsea Chenault – 1:58.52 (2010)

In the prelims this morning, Weinstein shaved nearly a second off her previous best of 1:58.53 with a 1:57.71. She repeated the feat in the final, again cutting down almost a second from a personal best that lasted less than a day. 

Last February, Weinstein became the youngest woman to qualify for the 2021 U.S. Olympic trials at just 13 years old. Last July, she swam her first sub-2:00 race in 1:58.95. In January, she tied the 13-14 girls National Age Group record with a 1:58.53, matching a mark set by legend Cynthia “Sippy” Woodhead nearly 30 years before Weinstein was born. Now just three months later, the Westchester, N.Y., native is setting new records in an older age bracket.

Weinstein will also compete in the 2022 FINA World Open Water Junior Championships in September after being crowned Women’s Junior 5k national champion at the 2022 U.S. Open Water Nationals in April.

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Bobo Gigi
2 years ago

Globally a slow race.
But good news for the US relay to have a great young prospect like Claire Weinstein.
She will take much experience at worlds.
Hopefully she doesn’t go in too many directions in the future with open water that could prevent her from reaching her full potential in the pool. Same remark about Katie Grimes.
There’s a great group of fast young mid-distance freestyle girls at Sandpipers. Let’s hope they keep pushing each other and keep focusing mostly on the pool.
Canada will be tough to beat in 2024. I don’t forget China and Australia either.
The US needs 3 women in 1.55 flat-start around KL to consider winning the olympic gold.

Reply to  Bobo Gigi
2 years ago

The anti pool/OW combo take will be proven incorrect Bobo. The US has never had athletes truly capable of excelling in both.

2 years ago

Her and Kate Douglas swam for the same age group coach Carle fiero Westchester aquatic club she’s got to be something right

Dawn Snow
2 years ago

The article says that Weinstein is the youngest ever Olympic trials qualifier. Didn’t Missy Franklin qualify for trials when she was 12 years old?

Reply to  Dawn Snow
2 years ago

I think that was meant to be for the 2021 Trials, not ever. I’ve corrected above.

2 years ago

The look on her face! She popped a quiff right there!

Reply to  Nance
2 years ago

That was very uncalled for

2 years ago

Is Claire Tuggle still swimming?

2 years ago

Sippy, 1979. Still #8….. Legend

road to 26
2 years ago

I swear I saw a comment when she first went sub 2 about how she will never make it Internationally for the US wish someone can find that for me congrats to Claire she 100% deserves it

About Riley Overend

Riley is an associate editor interested in the stories taking place outside of the pool just as much as the drama between the lane lines. A 2019 graduate of Boston College, he arrived at SwimSwam in April of 2022 after three years as a sports reporter and sports editor at newspapers …

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