Sandpipers Swimmers Sims and Grimes Pick Up Additional Trials Cuts

2021 Cinco de Mayo Invitational

  • Friday April 30 – Monday May 3, 2021
  • Pavilion Center Pool, Las Vegas, NV
  • Long Course Meters
  • Results available via Meet Mobile (meet name: 2021 Cinco de Mayo Invitational)

15-year olds Bella Sims and Katie Grimes of Sandpipers of Nevada continue to make their mark in the pool. The pair are projected to be named to the 2021 World Junior Open Water Championships roster and each have multiple Wave II Olympic Trials cuts. Their strengths in the Open Water and distance events are reflective of coach Ron Aitken’s training and this weekend Sims and Grimes showed their speed in shorter events as well.

The meet’s altitude of 3054 feet met the criteria for altitude-adjusted times. According to the USA Swimming Times Module Policy and Guidelines from 2019, altitude-adjusted times may be used to enter USA Swimming sanctioned events. 

Sims picked up two new Wave I trials cuts in both the 100 and 200 backstroke. Having not swum the 200 back since last August where she swam 2:18.37, Sims dropped nearly five seconds from her previous best to go 2:13.42, over a second under Wave I cut of 2:14.69. Her altitude adjusted time of 2:12.92 is under the Wave II cut for the event. This swim moves Sims into 63rd all time in the event for the girls 15-16 age group and 7th this year. 

In the 100 back, Sims broke 1:03 for the first time, swimming a 1:02.52. Sims is now among the top 100 all-time for the event in the girls 15-16 age group as she sits at 91st. She ranks 10th this season in the event for her age group.

Grimes dropped over five seconds in the 200 IM to earn a new Wave I cut. Her time of 2:16.27 (2:15.77 adjusted) was a significant improvement from her 2:21.60 she swam last summer. This moves her into 5th this season in the 15-16 girls age group and is now tied at 63rd all time in the age group with Katie Ledecky

Grimes also set a new best time in the 50 free, swimming a 27.24, improving upon her 27.54 from December. 

The Sandpipers had a notable showing on the boys side of the meet as well. 16-year old Ilya Kharun dropped another half-a-second in the 100 butterfly. Kharun has had quite the run in the event since breaking 1:00 for the first time in December by going 58.49. In March he swam 56.74 before dropping another second in April to go 55.71. His 55.20 from this weekend ranks him 8th this season for 15-16 boys.

Kharun and teammate Luke Ellis each set a new best in the 1500 freestyle. Ellis dropped 8 seconds to swim a 16:50.04 (16:39.04 adjusted) while Karun dropped over 30 seconds to go 16:20.87 (16:09.87 adjusted). Kharun and Ellis have been projected to make the World Junior Open Water Roster.

Other swims of note:

  • Paige Kuwata of Sandpipers swam a 2:18.00 (2:17.50 adjusted) in the 200 backstroke and 2:04.99 (2:04.49 adjusted) in the 200 freestyle. These were her first time drops in these events in 2.5 years. Kuwata is also projected to be on the roster for the World Junior Open Water Championships. 
  • 11-year old Natalie Umpornpuckdi of La Mirada Armada swam 2:58.84 (2:58.34 adjusted) in the 200 breaststroke and 1:24.56 in the 100 breast.
  • 11-year old Alex Bickler of Sandpipers swam the 1500 free for the first time in his career, posting a 20:05.23 (19:54.23 adjusted)

In This Story

Leave a Reply

Notify of

oldest most voted
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
1 year ago

This is all just noise Sims will have a great meet in whatever she picks. That team seems to always produce and the coaches are in on the bigger picture. Which has given Sims multiple options leading into trials. Grimes has potential as well but over shadowed by the noise. This is going to be fun to watch.

1 year ago

Sims is on a trajectory eerily similar to Ledecky’s pre-2012 Trials. Racing incredibly well leading into the meet, not missing a step despite a heavy competition load and travel schedule. With that 4:32 500, the great OW meet, and her range to go up or down from the 400 with strong ability, I reckon she puts up a great fight for that second 800 spot at Trials, and potentially for the 1500 as well.

Reply to  NCSwimFan
1 year ago

Couldn’t agree more. I also think she has a shot at making the 4×200 Free Relay team, as well as possibly 2nd in the 400 Free. The 400 freestyle is a stretch by a little since it’s practically owned by Katie Ledecky and Leah Smith, but if Leah Smith only gets down to 4:03 at trials, Sims (with her 4:32 500 time) could come down to 4:02 and shock everyone, getting second place. It’s going to be a fun race to watch, less than 2 months away! Can’t wait

1 year ago

When are the high school recruit ranks going to come out?

Canadian Swimmer
1 year ago

I remember seeing this club at one of the Pro Swims, everybody ripping up the distance events and 400IM. I’d love to see a week of their workouts, just not actually swim them 😉.

1 year ago

Any idea when high school recruit ranking will come out? I’m very curious to see what B. Sims is ranked in the class of 2023. Also K. Grimes too (although she’s a grade younger).

1 year ago

The Sandpipers Brice Barrieault also picked up a new Wave I Trials cut in the 1500 Free. That’s his 2nd Wave I qualifying time (400 Free is the other)

SoCal Swim Mom
1 year ago

So close to the dirty dozen. Bella has got range, can’t wait to see what the future holds.

Chef Jake
1 year ago

Brice Barrieault snagged the 1500 cut, winning the race by nearly a 50…