Race Video: Watch 15-Year-Old Katie Grimes Qualify For Tokyo In The 800 Free


The women’s 800 freestyle was a historic race for Katie Ledecky as it officially made her a 4-time 2021 US National Champion. The swim by Ledecky allowed her to pull off the perfect 4-for-4 wins in the 200, 400, 800, and freestyles.

Ledecky’s 800 freestyle win meant that she will be able to attempt to defend her 2-straight Olympic titles in the event, having won gold in both 2012 and 2016. Ledecky is the most successful swimmer in the history of the event and holds the American, Olympic, and world records at an 8:04.79 from 2016 as well as the US Open record of 8:06.68.

While Ledecky pulled off the expected win, the second storyline to come out of the race was 15-year-old Katie Grimes‘ 2nd place finish from lane 8. The Sandpipers of Nevada swimmer made a move in the back half of the race and managed to chase down the field, touching with an 8:20.36 to Haley Anderson‘s 8:20.51 for third place.

Grimes is notably the same age that Ledecky was 9 years ago when she made her first Olympic squad and swam less than a second slower than the 8:19.78 than Ledecky swam at US Trials in 2012.

After Grimes finished 3rd in the 1500 freestyle earlier on in the meet, Ledecky told her “you are the future” and upon her 2nd place, Olympic-qualifying 800, Ledecky adjusted the statement, telling Grimes “you are the now.”

Women’s 1500 Freestyle Final Race Video

Race recap originally reported by James Sutherland


  • World Record: Katie Ledecky (USA) – 8:04.79 (2016)
  • American Record: Katie Ledecky – 8:04.79 (2016)
  • US Open Record: Katie Ledecky (USA) – 8:06.68 (2016)
  • World Junior Record: Katie Ledecky (USA) – 8:11.00 (2014)
  • 2016 Olympic Champion: Katie Ledecky (USA) – 8:04.79
  • 2016 US Olympic Trials Champion: Katie Ledecky – 8:10.32
  • Wave I Cut: 8:48.09
  • Wave II Cut: 8:44.01
  • FINA ‘A’ Cut: 8:33.36
  1. Katie Ledecky (NCAP), 8:14.62
  2. Katie Grimes (SAND), 8:20.36
  3. Haley Anderson (MVN), 8:20.51

It was a tale of two races in the women’s 800 free: Katie Ledecky versus the clock, and then the rest of the field battling for second.

Ledecky asserted herself early, taking off from the gun and running away with her fourth victory of the week in a time of 8:14.62, just under a second off her season-best of 8:13.64 set in March. The time for Ledecky, 24, falls just shy of the top-25 swims in history.

In an exciting race for the second spot, Bella SimsErica Sullivan, and Haley Anderson all held the position at one point over the first 400 meters. Thing slowly began to separate, on the back-half, with 15-year-old Katie Grimes gradually moving through the field, turning third behind Ledecky and Anderson at the 700.

Grimes, swimming way out in Lane 8, was just a tenth back of Anderson with 50 to go, and made a huge charge down the last length, ultimately touching second in a time of 8:20.36 to Anderson’s 8:20.51. Anderson is almost double Grimes’ age (29 to 15).

Grimes becomes the third Sandpipers of Nevada female swimmer to qualify for the team this week, joining Sims (800 free relay) and Sullivan (1500 free). Grimes also smashed her previous best of 8:31.73 set in the prelims, and now ranks third all-time among 15-16s, trailing only Ledecky and Janet Evans.

Ally McHugh was sixth at the 500 but moved her way up to fourth at the end, edging out Sims (8:23.55) in 8:23.51. Sims, 16, lowers her best time down from 8:27.01 and is now ranks fourth among 15-16s.

Sullivan fell down to sixth in 8:24.02, but still chopped two seconds off her lifetime best.

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Nick B
1 year ago

I can’t stop thinking about Haley Anderson…..Just a beast of a swimmer and the only other swimmer to keep up with Ledecky, and then misses out on the 800 by .2

Bobo Gigi
1 year ago

Race video for people outside of USA. Great race! 😎

Wave 1.5 Qualifier
1 year ago

This is truly never going to get old.