Olympian Katie Grimes Finishes “Elite” Sweep at Las Vegas Open Water Meet


The “Elite 10km” event at this weekend’s Las Vegas Open Water Champions Cup anointed two new swimmers, Katie Grimes and Michael Brinegar, to the USA Swimming Open Water National Team.

Those were just two of 12 races that were held over the weekend, racing that included an elite 5km race for each gender as well.

There was a lot of money on the line in that elite 5km race. $6,000 was divided among the top 4 finishers of each gender. Prize money was awarded based on the total time of finishers in the elite 5km and 10km race, with swimmers being required to swim both to earn that prize money.


Elite 5K

15-year old, Olympian, and host team swimmer Katie Grimes finished off her double by winning the elite women’s 5km race in 57:30.48. Unlike the 10km race, which she won comfortably, this 5km race was a battle to the finish with fellow teenager Summer Smith, who is beginning her freshman season at the University of Tennessee.

At the finish, Grimes won by about three-and-a-half seconds. Not only does that give her a sweep of the wins at this meet that is one of the top open water events in the country in 2021, but it gives her a claim on the top prize. That makes her entitled to $3,000 in prize money from this meet, within bounds of what she is allowed to accept under NCAA rules.

Top 5 Finishers, Women’s elite 5km race:

  1. Katie Grimes, Sandpiper – 57:30.48
  2. Summer Smith, Unattached (University of Tennessee) – 57:33.80
  3. Leah DeGeorge, Unattached (University of Florida) – 58:10.27
  4. Abby Dunford, Sandpipers – 59:14.57
  5. Bella Sims, Sandpipers – 1:00:06.32

Prize Money Winners, Women (Aggregate 10K + 5K time)

  1. Katie Grimes: 2:53:54.35 – $3,000
  2. Leah Degeorge: 2:56:14.40 – $1,500
  3. Abby Dunford: 3:02:23.54 – $1,000
  4. Julissa Arave: 3:05:54.85 – $500
  5. Heidi George: 3:06:32.72 (first swimmer out of the money)

The men’s race didn’t include Michael Brinegar, who had previously won the 10km race, which left both that finish, as well as the prize money, up for grabs on the men’s side.

David Heron picked up the win after placing 2nd in the 10km race. His winning time of 54:33.21 gave him a narrow victory over Brennan Gravely, who was 1.2 seconds behind for 2nd place. That win wound up meaning a lot, financially, for Heron – after a close battle between him and Gravley in the 10k, the final margin between the two was just 2.13 seconds, which gave Heron, a pro, rights to the $3,000 award, and Gravley, an amateur, rights to the $1,500 award.

Top 5 Finishers, Men’s elite 5km race:

  1. David Heron, Mission Viejo Nadadores – 54:33.21
  2. Brennan Gravley, Unattached (University of Florida) – 54:34.48
  3. TC Smith, Unattached (University of Louisville) – 54:58.77
  4. Dylan Gravley, Unattached (Arizona State) – 55:13.80
  5. Gordon Mason, Unattached (Arizona State) – 55:56.57

Prize Money Winners, Men (Aggregate 10K + 5K time)

  1. David Heron: 2:35:19:96 – $3,000
  2. Brennan Gravley: 2:35:22.09 – $1,500
  3. Dylan Gravley: 2:36:32.52 – $1,000
  4. Gordon Mason: 2:38:25.19 – $500
  5. TC Smith: 2:39:01.60 (first swimmer out)

Other Top 3s from throughout the weekend

Men 13 & Over 5k Senior Open Water

  1. Hilton Aitken, Sandpiper – 58:51.83
  2. Devin Bauman, Sandpiper – 1:00:00.16
  3. Jan Zika, Mission Viejo Nadadores – 1:00:04.18

Women 13 & Over 5k Senior Open Water

  1. Bella Sims, Sandpiper – 1:02:55.58 (Olympian)
  2. Viviana Criscione, Corvallis Aquatic Team – 1:03:36.92
  3. Lexi Alexen, Mission Viejo Nadadlores – 1:03:41.85

Boys 11-16 2.5k Junior Open Water

  1. Riley Clinton, Sandpiper – 29:48.72
  2. Dillon Wright, Sandpiper – 29:56.31
  3. Rylan Anselm, Barrington Swim Club – 30:05.33

Girls 11-16 2.5k Junior Open Water

  1. Sianna Savarda, Sandpiper – 32:10.19
  2. Abigail Miller, Mission Viejo Nadadores – 32:13.88
  3. Lucy Warnick, Sandpiper – 32:50.24

Men 13 & Over 7.5k Senior Open Water

  1. Hilton Aitken, Sandpiper – 1:28:47.00
  2. Riley Clinton, Sandpiper – 1:32:51.30
  3. Dillon Wright, Sandpiper – 1:32:53.93

Women 13 & Over 7.5k Senior Open Water

  1. Olivia Porter, Sandpiper – 1:39:42.82
  2. Ashley Scott, Sandpiper – 1:40:17.34
  3. Mary Grace King, Lake Forest Swim Club – 1:40:39.42

Boys 11-16 5k Junior Open Water

  1. Andrew Cooper, Beach Cities Swimming – 1:01:18.83
  2. Brady Bever, Mission Viejo Nadadores – 1:01:23.07
  3. Mcclellan Clark, Pittsburgh Elite Aquatics – 1:02:37.47

Girls 11-16 5k Junior Open Water

  1. Abigail Hill, Barrington Swim Club – 1:06:14.40
  2. Arina Zvercova, Beach Cities Swimming – 1:06:19.36
  3. Michelle Grabowski, Sandpiper – 1:08:29.20


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2 years ago

Can the athletes now keep the money?

2 years ago

BCH-CA = Boulder City Henderson Heatwave, not Beach 🙂

NC Fan
2 years ago

I was unaware and am intrigued. What are the bounds of prize money swimmers can get within NCAA rules…and would that apply to FINA meets as well like world championships or even the World Cups?

About Braden Keith

Braden Keith

Braden Keith is the Editor-in-Chief and a co-founder/co-owner of SwimSwam.com. He first got his feet wet by building The Swimmers' Circle beginning in January 2010, and now comes to SwimSwam to use that experience and help build a new leader in the sport of swimming. Aside from his life on the InterWet, …

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