Speedo Winter Junior Championships – West: Day 4 Finals Live Recap

by Robert Gibbs 19

December 11th, 2021 National, News, Previews & Recaps



The final session of the Speedo Winter Junior Championships is here, and with it we’ll see timed finals of the 1650 free, and finals of the 200 back, 100 free, 200 breast, and 200 fly. Tonight’s relay is the 400 freestyle.

Things should be out to a fast start tonight, as the fastest heat of the women’s 1650 will feature Sandpipers of Nevada Katie Grimes, Claire Weinstein, and Paige Kuwata. Hayden Miller (Cypress Fairbank) is also in the mix, after posting a 4:40 500 free on Thursday.

Katie Grimes will also be competing in the A final of the girls 200 back, where Phoenix Swim Club’s Kennedy Noble posted the top time of the morning. Irvine Novaquatics’ Teagan O’Dell swam a personal best of 1:54.38 in prelims, and based off her LCM performances this summer, she may have an even bigger swim in the tank for tonight.

Rather than racing in the mile tonight, Olympic Silver medalist Bella Sims (Sandpipers of Nevada) is racing the girls 100 free and 200 fly. Sims is facing an uphill battle in the 100 free, after finishing 6th this morning. Leah Hayes is the top seed in finals, after clocking the only :48 of the morning. Claire Weinstein will also be in the A final of the 100 free, after racing the mile. In the 200 fly, Sims is looking at a showdown with Justina Kozan.


  • Meet Record: Gabrielle Kopenski – 15:56.39 (2014)

Top 3:

  1. Katie Grimes (SAND), 15 – 15:34.74
  2. Claire Weinstein (SAND), 14 – 15:52.84
  3. Hayden Miller (CFSU), 17 – 16:02.22

Katie Grimes just keeps rolling. Tonight, the 15 year-old Sandpiper laid waste to the Juniors meet record, lowering it by over 21 seconds as the US Olympian swam to a dominant 15:34.74 victory.

That’s a new personal best for Grimes by over 30 seconds, it appears to move her to #2 all-time in the 15-16 age group, and perhaps most impressively, she is now the #9 performer all-time of any age in the event. Katie Ledecky holds the NAG record with her time of 15:15.17 from 2013.

Grimes won by over 18 seconds, but her 14 year-old teammate Claire Weinstein had a great swim herself, going 15:52.84 and eclipsing the National Age Group record of 15:54.46 set by Becca Mann in 2012. It was an even bigger time drop for Weinstein than it was for Grimes, as Weinstein came into today with a best time of 16:29.20 from this February.

Hayden Miller of Cypress Fairbanks took 3rd in 16:02.22, a time which would’ve would won this event over at the Juniors East meet. That’s a ten second improvement for Miller, who will heading to the University of Florida next fall.

While the Sandpipers have shown this week that they’re more than just a distance-oriented team, that’s still primarily the discipline they’ve been known for lately, and so it was no surprise as they took three out of the top four spots: future Louisville Cardinal Paige Kuwata knocked nearly 13 seconds off of her best time to time to take 4th in 6:11.10.


  • Meet Record: Michael Brinegar – 14:37.71 (2017)
  1. Matthew Chai (FAST), 18 – 14:45.37
  2. Alec Enyeart (TST), 17 – 14:56.69
  3. Brice Barrieault (SAND), 17 – 14:59.83

FAST’s Matthew Chai earned the win tonight with a 14:45.37, setting a new personal best by over 17 seconds to move to #11 all-time in the 17-18 age group.. Chai is heading to Cal next year, and he’ll arrived in Berkeley with a time that would’ve scored at NCAAs last year.

Tsumani’s Alec Enyeart knocked nearly 34 seconds off of his previous best to win with a 14:56.69. That’s a big swim for the 17 year-old, who recently committed to the University of Texas; his time is probably right about what it’ll take to qualify for NCAAs this season.

While the Army lost to Navy today in the annual football matchup, their swim team can take some solace in the fact that commit Brice Barrieault had a great swim today, improving from 15:24.38 to 14:59.83 in one fell swoop.


  • Meet Record: Katharine Berkoff – 1:50.16 (2018)

Top 3:

  1. Kennedy Noble (PSC), 17 – 1:52.73
  2. Katie Grimes (SAND), 15 – 1:52.83
  3. Teagan O’Dell (NOVA), 15 – 1:53.23

Unsurprisingly, this quickly turned into a three-swimmer race. Ultimately, Kennedy Noble got her hand on the wall first, completing the backstroke sweep this week with a time of 1:52.73. That appears to be the 3rd-fastest time of her career.

Less than 30 minutes after winning her stunning 1650, Katie Grimes pushed Noble hard in this race, and had the fastest final 50 in the field with a 27.89. She touched just behind Noble at 1:52.83, setting a new personal best by 0.05s.

Irvine Novaquatics’ Teagan O’Dell was the only other swimmer under 1:56 in the final, taking 3rd with a 1:53.23. That’s a new lifetime best by roughly 3 seconds for the 15 year-old.


  • Meet Record: Jacob Pebley – 1:40.79 (2011)

Top 3:

  1. Nick Simons (LOSC), 17 – 1:40.98
  2. Keaton Jones (NEP), 17 – 1:41.71
  3. Chase Mueller (FST), 17 – 1:42.09

Lake Oswego’s Nick Simons completed the backstroke sweep with a 1:40.98 win in the 200 back night after winning the 100 last night. Simons’ time rattled the meet record of 1:40.79, set by future Olympian Jacob Pebley back in 2011. That’s nearly a two-second lifetime best for Simons, a Tennessee commit, and puts him under recent NCAA qualifying times in this event.

Behind Simons, Swim Neptune’s Keaton Jones and Foothills’ Chase Mueller battled it out for 2nd place. Both men punched the gas on the final 50, each splitting under 26, but Jones hung on to take 2nd in 1:41.71 to Mueller’s 1:42.09. Jones, a Cal commit, came into day with a previous best of 1:42.81, while Mueller’s best before today was 1:46.16.


  • Meet Record: Abbey Weitzeil – 46.29 (2014)

Top 3:

  1. Leah Hayes (TIDE), 16 / Bella Sims (SAND)- 48.52
  2. (tie)
  3. Katie Crom (Un-SET), 18 – 48.64

This was an absolute barnburner of a race, as the top fort girls all finished within 0.17s of each other. Leah Hayes of Fox Valley flipped first with a 23.33 opening 50, but Bella Sims came back over the second half, and the two 16 year-olds touched simultaneously at the finish, recording identical times of 48.52.

Katie Crom touched 3rd in 48.64, followed closely by Jada Scott at 48.64.


  • Meet Record: Ryan Hoffer – 41.23 (2015)

Top 3:

  1. Quintin McCarty (PPA), 18 – 42.78
  2. Alex McMahon (AQUA), 18 – 43.12
  3. Connor Foote (AAAA), 17 – 43.19

Quintin McCarty of Pikes Peak wrapped up the sprint free sweep with a 42.78 win in the 100 free tonight, improving from a 43.67 best prior to  today. The NC State previously won the 50 free in 19.35 on Thursday, and he took 2nd in the 100 back last night.

Aquawolves’ Alex McMahon flipped basically even with McCarty at the 50, but couldn’t quite McCarty’s back half, taking 2nd in 43.12. AAAA’s Connor Foote nearly ran down McMahon, but ran out of pool, settling for 3rd in 43.19. McMahon, a future Arizona Wildcat, had a previous lifetime best of 43.48, while Foote, who will be in-state at Texas A&M, had a previous best of 43.77.


  • Meet Record: Alex Walsh – 2:06.02 (2018)

Top 3:

  1. Emma Weber (TOPS), 17 – 2:09.04
  2. Piper Enge (BC), 15 – 2:09.09
  3. Caroline Bricker (COSA), 16 – 2:10.63

Piper Enge went out fast and had over a one-second lead at the halfway point. But Emma Weber reeled her in on the backhalf and eventually got her hands on the wall first, winning 2:09.04 to 2:09.09.

That completes yet another sweep on the night, as Weber won the 100 breast last night. That’s also the first personal best in two years for Weber, who’s previously lifetime best was a 2:10.39 from the 2019 edition of this meet.

Enge, the 15 year-old from the Bellevue Swim Club, lowered her best time by over six seconds today. She came into today with a best of 2:15.33, then went 2:11.23 in prelims before clocking the 2:09.09 in finals. That looks like it moves her into the top ten all-time the 15-16 age group.

Colorado Springs’ Caroline Bricker took 3rd in 2:10.63, thanks to the fastest final 50 in the field (33.78). Bricker clipped her lifetime best by about half a second with that swim.


  • Meet Record: Josh Matheny – 1:52.12 (2019)

Top 3:

  1. Zhier Fan (MTRO), 17 – 1:52.92
  2. Andrew Zou (UN-ST), 16 – 1:56.75
  3. Logan Brown (FCST), 16 – 1:56.77

MTRO’s Zhier Fan had one of the more dominant peformances of the night, going 1:52.92 to win this event by nearly four seconds. Fan, a Stanford commit, moves up to #8 all-time in the 17-18 age group.

That was a big drop for Fan. He came into today with a 1:56.99 lifetime best, went 1:56.89 in prelims, and then shattered those times by four seconds tonight. While we’re not 100% sure on this right now, that time also appears to make him the fastest boy in the high school class of 2022 in that event. When we redid our recruit rankings back in May, Baylor Nelson had the fastest time at 1:56.01, while Fan was 1:56.99. Nelson just went 1:54.83 over at the East site, but Fan now leapfrogs Nelson by nearly two seconds.

Andrew Zou and Logan Brown battled it out for 2nd, with Zou getting the touch by just 0.02s, 1:56.75 to 1:56.77. The two split their races fairly evenly; Zou led by 0.22s at the halfway point, and while Brown was faster by 0.20s on the backhalf, that just wasn’t quite enough to overcome Zou’s early lead.


  • Meet Record: Regan Smith – 1:51.24 (2018)

Top 3:

  1. Bella Sims (SAND), 16 – 1:53.91
  2. Justina Kozan (Un-CA), 16 – 1:54.28
  3. Bailey Hartman (CROW), 15 – 1:55.95

Surely there’s some  theorem of swimming that says if you win the 100 fly and 200 free (and tie for the win in the 100 free) at any particular meet, you should win the 200 fly too, right?

Either way, Bella Sims did exactly that, winning the 200 fly with a 1:53.91 after winning the aforementioned events earlier this meet. That’s about one-second best for the Sandpiper, and looks to move her to #7 all-time in the 15-16 age group.

Justina Kozan lowered her lifetime best by roughly half a second taking 2nd in 1:54.28 after also taking 2nd in the 400 IM last night. Bailey Hartman knocked 1.55s off of her best time to take 3rd in 1:55.95.


  • Meet Record: Luca Urlando – 1:40.91 (2018)

Top 3:

  1. Ilya Kharun (SAND), 16 – 1:42.39
  2. Conor McKenna (LAC), 18 – 1:43.65
  3. Holden Smith (Un-CA), 18 – 1:44.29

The final individual event of the meet ended with anther sweep, as Ilya Kharun won the 200 fly by over a second tonight after winning the 100 fly last night. Conor McKenna was only 0.17s behind at the halfway point, but Kharun powered home with 26.66 and 26.73 splits over the last 100 yards, touching in 1:42.39.

Kharun’s been on a massive improvement curve, and his best time before today was a 1:44.03. Tonight’s swim moves him into the top ten all-time in the 17-18 age group.

McKenna took 2nd in 1:43.65, followed by Holden Smith at 1:44.29. McKenna, who’s heading to Princeton in the fall, had a previous lifetime best of 1:45.02. Smith, who’s heading to Texas next fall after taking a gap year, had a best of 1:46.08 before today.

Girls 400 Free Relay – Timed Finals

  • Meet Record: SwimMAC Carolina – 3:16.62 (2015)

Top 3:

  1. Sandpipers – 3:17.82
  2. Irvine Novaquatics – 3:20.39
  3. Elevation – 3:20.63

The Sandpipers concluded their dynamite week with a victory in the 400 free relay. Katie Grimes led off in 50.10, Claire Weinstein (49.18) and Audrey Yu (49.81), kept it going, then Bella Sims anchored in 48.73 as the Sandpipers won in 3:17.82.

Teagan O’Dell swum a lifetime best 48.82 leading off for Irvine Novaquatics, leading them to a 2nd place finish time of 3:20.39. Elevation Athletics finished just behind at 3:20.63 for 3rd.

Boys 400 Free Relay – Timed Finals

  • Meet Record: Bolles School Sharks – 2:55.89 (2012)

Top 3:

  1. Lakeside – 2:56.04
  2. Rose Bowl – 2:57.03
  3. Coronado – 2:58.12

Lakeside Swim Club rattled the meet record, finishing just 0.15s away from the 2:55.89 swum by the legendary Bolles team back in 2012. Lakeside got a 45 and three 43s to win by over a second, with a 2:56.04. Jon VanZandt led off in 45.09, then Andrew Zettle (43.77), Cooper Lucas (43.25) and Conor McKenna (43.93) all went sub-44 to wrap up the victory.

Max Maurer led off with a 44.13 for Rose Bowl, followed by Zach Larrick (44.20), Nathan Kim (44.71), and Ronald Dalmacio (43.99) for a combined time of 2:57.12. Coronado took 3rd in 2:58.12, thanks to a stand out 43.55 anchor leg by Lucius Brown.

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2 years ago

Why I despise these articles at times…

There were a hell of a lot of swimmers (not from Sandpipers) that dropped hella times and did quite awesome. Take out the usual phenoms and focus on those that moved from 60 to 10 in the standings and those others who were most improved from their seeds.

Long Beach Beats
Reply to  Cali101
2 years ago


SS writes tons of articles about swimmers who drop times all year long. At championships, the victors get the spoils.

If you wanna write an article about your child who dropped time for your local club, then do it. Yeezus.

2 years ago

Bella Sims 15:59 down to 48.5, and the times between are what gets me (1:42.9/4:32.1/9:32). Also not including her 52/1:54 fly speed and her whooping 1:53 200 back, and 1:54/4:06 IM times. And that’s just short course, and she’s just 16. Olympic silver also. I can go on and on. This is a swimmer of the century.

Reply to  Mirada
2 years ago

Not to mention her silver medal at OW JR’s in the 5K, and her ability to swim a 10K in huge surf in an ocean, while she lives in Vegas. Holly cow

Reply to  Mirada
2 years ago

Swimmer of the century might be a tad premature.

2 years ago

Grimes’ times in the 500, 1650, and 400 IM all would’ve placed first at 2021 NCAAs.. wtf

Reply to  jeff
2 years ago

After watching these teenagers swim this weekend, I’ve concluded I’m just bad at swimming.

2 years ago

Any reason why Nick Simons switched from SAND?

Reply to  Noah
2 years ago

I think he was just training there for the summer.

julie taylor
2 years ago

Kathryn Hazle is on my radar. #2 for 200 Breast this morning going into finals! She has some great range, with nationals cut in 400 IM, US open in 200/800 free, 200 breast, and 200 IM. Great athlete, excited to see what she can do tonight!

2 years ago

Katie Grimes — From #9 all time in the mile to a 1:52 2 back. Wow!

2 years ago

Curious about boys 1650…Meet Mobile for me shoes Matthew Chai winning on 14:45+. But this article doesn’t indicate that. Any info on why the different results? Thx!

PK Doesn't Like His Long Name
2 years ago

Men’s 1650 results above are incorrect-Enyeart got 2nd, there was another heat of swimmers that posted.

Edit-looks good now!

Last edited 2 years ago by PK Doesn't Like His Long Name

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