Sandpipers Crush Fastest Junior 800 Free Relay Ever In 7:02.90 (Not A NAG)


  • December 8-11, 2021
  • Jamail Texas Swim Center, Austin, Texas
  • Short Course Yards (25 yards), Prelims/Finals
  • Prelims: 9 am (ET)
  • Finals: 5 pm (ET) – Wed. relays at 6 pm
  • Meet Central
  • Live Results
  • Psych Sheets

The Sandpipers of Nevada girls dropped the fastest 800 freestyle relay by a junior squad in history on Wednesday night to open the Winter Junior Championships – West in Austin, coming in with a sizzling time of 7:02.90.

The team was made up by a pair of Olympians, Katie Grimes and Bella Sims, plus junior standouts Claire Weinstein and Paige Kuwata.

Despite the fact that they finished three seconds under the existing National Age Group Record for the 15-18 age group, 7:05.91 done by Magnolia Aquatic Club in 2017, the Sandpipers won’t get the official NAG because Weinstein is still 14. Grimes is 15, Sims is 16 and Kuwata is 17.

A similar situation occurred in 2017, when the Nashville Aquatic Club clocked 7:05.85, but didn’t break the 15-18 NAG because Gretchen Walsh was only 14. That time from NAC was also the Winter Juniors Meet Record until the Sandpipers broke it on Wednesday.

Grimes led off in 1:44.96, a half-second off her best time set last month at the NV State Championships, and then both Weinstein (1:45.40) and Kuwata (1:48.98) were well under their existing flat-start bests swimming second and third. On the anchor leg, Sims unloaded a blistering 1:43.56, which was just under her flat-start best of 1:43.79 (also set last month).

With the time improvements made by Weinstein and Kuwata, recognizing that they had relay exchanges to boost their times here (Weinstein had a 0.43 reaction time, Kuwata was 0.09), the team was more than three seconds faster than their lifetime best add-up.

Split Comparison – Versus Flat-Start Bests

Swimmer Flat-Start Best Time Relay Split
Katie Grimes 1:44.43 1:44.96 (lead-off)
Claire Weinstein 1:47.61 1:45.40
Paige Kuwata 1:50.26 1:48.98
Bella Sims 1:43.79 1:43.56
Add Up 7:06.09 7:02.90

Relative to the Magnolia Aquatic Club record from 2017, the Sandpipers were almost three seconds faster on the lead-off and anchor legs combined, thanks to the performances of Grimes and Sims.

Split Comparison – Sandpipers vs Current 15-18 NAG

Magnolia, 2017 Sandpipers, 2021
Lucie Nordmann – 1:46.16 Katie Grimes – 1:44.96
Monica Gumina – 1:46.96 (3:33.12) Claire Weinsten – 1:45.40 (3:30.36)
Kaitlynn Sims – 1:47.60 (5:20.72) Paige Kuwata – 1:48.98 (5:19.34)
Lillie Nordmann – 1:45.19 (7:05.91) Bella Sims – 1:43.56 (7:02.90)

The Sandpipers ended up winning the event by almost 12 seconds, with Irvine Novaquatics a distant runner-up in 7:14.79. Over at the East meet in Greensboro, Carmel Swim Club won the event in 7:11.84.

The Sandpiper time would also rank fifth in the NCAA this season, with Texas, Stanford and Cal marking the only schools to have cracked the 7:00-barrier.

Race Video

Weinstein recently joined the Sandipers to train alongside Sims and Grimes with coach Ron Aitken following their standout performance at the U.S. Olympic Trials this summer, which led them both to qualify for the Tokyo Games.

Sims won a silver medal as a member of the U.S. women’s 800 free relay, while Grimes finished fourth individually in the 800 freestyle.

All four members of the relay are slated to swim the 500 free on Thursday morning in Austin.

In This Story

Leave a Reply

Notify of

oldest most voted
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
Michael Nordmann
9 months ago

🥰 Magnolia Aquatic Club 🥰

9 months ago

Dum de dum dum that isn’t a NAG

9 months ago

It looks like the previous winter jrs record (NAC) was also a touch faster but not a NAG at that time because Gretchen Walsh was only 14. Weinstein was ~ half second faster than G. Walsh at 14… Sims half second faster than A. Walsh.

9 months ago

When did Weinstein move? I thought she lived in New York. Wonder if her family moved across the country just so she could swim with Sandpipers

Reply to  Swimm
9 months ago

Yeah they did I think

Reply to  Virtus
9 months ago

I love my kids. Just not enough to do that.

Reply to  2Fat4Speed
9 months ago

She was already swimming exceptionally well on her NY club. I guess her parents must be in a position where they’re able to do this and want to go all in on trying to get her on the next Olympic team

Last edited 9 months ago by Swimm
Reply to  Swimm
9 months ago

I think it’s worth acknowledging that her NY club is one that truly and an “age group” club – most of their top swimmers move on to other clubs with bigger senior groups when they reach high school age.

Carleanne Fierro does a really outstanding job there with the developmental levels. Arguably the best developmental-specific coach that swimming has, especially for girls. And I think there’s a ton of value in that – I don’t think as a sport we give enough recognition (and by recognition, I mean $$$$) to developmental coaches who have shown that they can consistenly produce top-class prospects.

Most don’t move across the country, of course, but Claire was always going to move on from WAC.… Read more »

Reply to  Braden Keith
9 months ago

Why do all the swimmers leave when they reach the senior ranks if they’re developing so well as age groupers? Who’s to say that Fierro couldn’t keep the progress moving in the right direction? Or is there a different senior coach in the program who isn’t as strong?

9 months ago

1:45.4 for 14 year old weinstein is moving!

Last edited 9 months ago by eagleswim

About James Sutherland

James Sutherland

James swam five years at Laurentian University in Sudbury, Ontario, specializing in the 200 free, back and IM. He finished up his collegiate swimming career in 2018, graduating with a bachelor's degree in economics. In 2019 he completed his graduate degree in sports journalism. Prior to going to Laurentian, James swam …

Read More »