Sandpipers Swim 800 Free Relay Time That Would Have Been Second At 2022 NCAAs (6:52.66)

Yanyan Li
by Yanyan Li 27

December 07th, 2022 Club, National, News



Decades ago, it was commonplace for the top training groups in the United States to not be centered around collegiate programs, but rather around club teams made up of mostly high-school-aged swimmers, especially females. The Sandpipers of Nevada are recapturing a bit of that swimming nostalgia, flexing their teenage training group on Wednesday with a time in the 800 free relay that would have placed 2nd at the 2022 NCAA Championships.

The quartet of 17-year-old Olympian Bella Sims, 16-year-old Olympian Katie Grimes, 18-year-old Macky Hodges, and 16-year-old World Champion Claire Weinstein put up a time of 6:52.66 at the 2022 Speedo Junior West Championships that not only obliterated the Sandpipers’ own meet record time of 7:02.90 from just a year ago, but also shattered Magnolia Aquatic Club’s 15-18 National Age Group record time of 7:05.91 by over 13 seconds. Plus, their time also would have overtaken the University of Virginia’s second-place-finishing time of 6:53.47 from NCAAs last year.

Yes, a club team full of teenagers is faster than just about every collegiate program in the United States. And it wasn’t even a mega-club team spanning across multiple states, like NCAP, that pulled off this feat. It was a true training group concentrated in southern Nevada, which has suddenly turned into a hotspot to get junior swimmers onto international teams.

This incredible relay performances was driven by Sims, who dropped nearly two seconds off her best time of 1:42.59 to lead off in 1:40.78. She’s now just half a second off Missy Franklin’s legendary 17-18 National Age Group record time of 1:40.31, and nearly a second faster than Katie Ledecky was when she was 17 (1:41.55). In addition, Sims also swam the fastest 200 free time since March 22, 2019, when Mallory Comerford and Siobhan Haughey went 1:39.80 and 1:40.70 respectively at NCAAs. Read more about Sims’ swim here.

Follow Sims was Grimes (1:43.26), Hodges (1:44.60), and Weinstein (1:44.02). Hodges, a former swimmer for the Mission Viejo Nadadores who just began training with the Sandpipers this season, saw major improvements in her 200 free on this relay, as her split was considerably faster than her flat start best time of 1:46.07. Grimes and Weinstein were also faster than their times of 1:44.96 and 1:45.50 respectively from last year, although it’s important to note that Grimes led off in 2021.

In case you’re wondering, here’s how the Sandpipers’ splits stack up to Virginia’s splits from NCAAs last year, as well as Magnolia Aquatic Clubs’s previous NAG:

Sandpipers of Nevada, 2022 Winter Juniors University of Virginia, 2022 NCAA Championships Magnolia Aquatic Club, 2017 Winter Juniors
Bella Sims — 1:40.78 Reilly Tiltmann — 1:43.17 Lucie Nordmann — 1:46.16
Katie Grimes — 1:43.26 Alex Walsh — 1:41.92 Monica Gumina — 1:46.96
Macky Hodges — 1:44.60 Ella Nelson — 1:43.58 Kaitlynn Sims — 1:47.60
Claire Weinstein — 1:44.02 Emma Weyant — 1:44.80 Lillie Nordmann — 1;45.19
6:52.66 6:53.47 7:05.91

Also, here’s how the Sandpipers’ splits stack up against their previous meet record from last year:

Sandpipers of Nevada, 2021 Winter Juniors
Sandpipers of Nevada, 2022 Winter Juniors
Katie Grimes – 1:44.96 Bella Sims — 1:40.78
Claire Weinstein – 1:45.50 Katie Grimes — 1:43.26
Paige Kuwata – 1:48.98 Macky Hodges — 1:44.60
Bella Sims – 1:43.56 Claire Weinstein — 1:44.02
7:02.90 6:52.66

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water baby!
1 month ago

can we get split comparisons against their 2021 swim? (the 7:02)

Reply to  water baby!
1 month ago

Added at the bottom!

former high schooler
1 month ago

do all of these sandpiper swimmers home school/do high school online?

Reply to  former high schooler
1 month ago

i think its half/half. bella could not swim for high school because of USA swimming.

DP Spellman
1 month ago

Amazing splits! Congratulations Coach Ron and the Sandpipers!

1 month ago

No one has mentioned the whole we are not tapering until trials thing that was recently published

Last edited 1 month ago by Taa
Reply to  Taa
1 month ago

Kebob unshaved

Reply to  Taa
1 month ago

kebob unshaved

1 month ago

these teenagers are getting scary impressive

Reply to  avery
1 month ago

“The Three Musketeers (Bella Sims, Katie Grimes & Claire Weinstein) are already scaring the Australians, with D’Artagnan (Summer McIntosh) they would annihilate them !”
Alexandre Dumas

Reply to  jpm49
1 month ago

It’s looking good for US in relay for next year and Paris

Reply to  Lisa
1 month ago

And yes let’s not forget Erin gemmel 1:57.14 (.4 seconds behind ledecky) has Any country have 3 different swimmers split under 1:55 in one year?

Reply to  Swimfan
1 month ago

Yes and the one country I think that have the talent that maybe could matched the Us team is probably Australia cause they also have a lot of young swimmers.

Last edited 1 month ago by Lisa
1 month ago

So ….. for the women’s 4 x 200 meter freestyle relay at the 2023 FINA World Aquatics Championships, it’s Grimes or Weinstein and Gemmell, Sims, Ledecky (not necessarily in that order).

Macky Hodges, who? Top six for the women’s 4 x 200 meter freestyle relay?

Reply to  Weinstein-Smith-Ledecky-Sims
1 month ago

Username needs updating then?

1 month ago

Definitely amazing seeing Sims go a 1:40.7. Virtual battle between her and Summer tomorrow. Great splits all around, would have guessed that Weinstein would’ve been a bit faster, but still an amazing split. I think she’s more of a LC swimmer at this point. Wow Hodges 1:46 to 1:44, and Grimes 1:43! Great night overall

Reply to  Yanyan Li
1 month ago

The fact both these girls are going Ledecky like times is insane I’m excited for how the meets shape out.

Reply to  PFA
1 month ago

Yeah, the fact we thought there would never be another Ledecky and were about to get 2 of them.

“This is getting out of hand. Now there are two of them!” – Rowdy, probably.

Reply to  jim
1 month ago

Bella Sims is also another young swimmer that impressed me the past few months and she keeps getting improving .

This Guy
1 month ago


About Yanyan Li

Yanyan Li

Although Yanyan wasn't the greatest competitive swimmer, she learned more about the sport of swimming through scoring countless dual meets, being a timer, and keeping track of her teammates' best times for three years as a team manager. She eventually ventured into the realm of writing and joined SwimSwam in …

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