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15-year-old Las Vegan just misses Olympic medal in 800

They became known as Katie Squared — the legendary Ledecky and the up-and-comer Grimes.

Ledecky and Grimes finished 1-2 in the 800-meter freestyle at the U.S. Olympic Trials and again in the heat for the Olympic Games.

There they were again Saturday side by side in the Tokyo pool, and Ledecky did her part, winning with a time of 8 minutes, 12.57 seconds. Grimes came in fourth at 8:19.38, an incredible feat for the youngest American Olympic swimmer in 25 years who was thought of as more of a candidate to make future Games.

“It was an incredible race for 15-year-old Katie Grimes to experience and compete with the best in the world,” texted Jake Des Roches, a coach for Grimes’ club team, the Las Vegas-based Sandpipers of Nevada. “Earning 4th place in an Olympic final, at 15 years old, to World Record Ledecky, Australian hero (Ariarne) Titmus, and European Champion (Simona Quadarella of Italy) is quite an accomplishment!”

Grimes entered these Olympics as the story of American women’s swimming at the Trials after she surprisingly qualified in the 800, even beating Sandpipers teammates Erica Sullivan and Bella Sims.

Grimes is the youngest American swimmer in the Olympics since Amanda Beard made the 1996 team and competed in Atlanta at 14.

The spotlight will only shine brighter on Grimes, who likely will face higher expectations leading into the 2024 Olympics in Paris. She likely won’t be alone, at least.

The Sandpipers made an enormous impact in Tokyo. Her other three teammates won medals. Bowe Becker took home gold in the 400 freestyle relay. Sullivan in the 1,500 freestyle and Sims in the 800 freestyle relay earned silver medals.

Contact reporter Mark Anderson at manderson@reviewjournal.com. Follow @markanderson65 on Twitter.

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