William & Mary Alum, USMS Record Holder Katie Grier Dies At 43

by Matthew Harder 5

September 20th, 2021 Masters

Former standout William & Mary swimmer Katie Grauman Grier died of metastatic breast cancer complications on Aug. 20 at 43 years old.

Grier grew up in Turlock, California where she was a nationally recognized youth water polo player. When she moved to Virginia, she shifted her focus to competitive swimming and was the captain of the Harrisonburg High School swim team (1994-1996).

While in high school, Grier was recruited to William & Mary by legendary coach Ned Skinner as part of their transformative class of 2000. She was known as a clutch relay performer, anchoring nearly every relay she competed in during her collegiate career.

Grier was on two CAA Champion 200 medley relays (1997 and 1998) and set team records in the 50, 100, and 200 free events. She is still ranked eighth all-time for the school in both total career victories (52) and total career points scored (1,127.25). Notably, she’s one of the only athletes from her era still ranked in W&M’s top-16.

Grier came out of retirement in 2014 when she and some W&M alumni created Club Tribe Masters Swimming, which is a USMS club in Virginia. Within five years of her return to the sport, she had earned 11 USMS All-American honors (5 individual, 6 relays) and 37 USMS No. 1 rankings (17 individual, 20 relays). Grier holds seven current USMS national records in relay events and 41 masters state records (17 individual, 24 relays).

Some of Grier’s times from her master’s career were faster than her times at W&M. She quickly became the No. 1 USMS female sprinter in her age group in the United States, going 23.82 in the 50 free at 39 years old and 51.49 in the 100 at 40. Her performances earned her US Masters Swimming Pool All-Star honors for the 40-44 age group division.

You can see the full breakdown of Katie’s USMS accolades here.

Courtesy: Michele Pecori Choe

Grier’s passion for W&M didn’t go unnoticed. While at W&M, Grier was recognized by many of her teammates as “a natural leader, a consummate teammate, and a pure, unblinking racer.” She was a supportive alum throughout her life and made significant efforts to save the program when it was originally cut in 2020. The program has since been reinstated.

Grier is survived by her father, brother, her two children, and a large extended family of friends.

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ACC fan
1 month ago

RIP Katie, you were a beautiful person and swimmer. You will be missed.

sophia
Reply to  ACC fan
15 days ago

katie was my mother my name is sophia Grier

Kerry Lindauer
1 month ago

Thank you, Matthew, for this story. I would not have know and would have wondered where she was at future meets. This is an awful loss. I competed with Katie at Masters Nationals. I did not know her well, mostly just bumping into each other behind the blocks. She was a fierce competitor and a kind soul. We are very sorry to lose her! My thoughts, prayers, and strength go out to her family and friends.

Kyle Ahlgren
Reply to  Kerry Lindauer
1 month ago

Thank you, Kerry. You were one of a small group of competitors that really pushed Katie to be her absolute best, and she had tremendous respect for you.
— Kyle

Phyllis Breidinger
21 days ago

I first met Katie personally in the locker room of the Wellness Center in Winchester, Virginia. Our conversation started when I watched her pull off her William and Mary Tribe swim team cap. Phyllis