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Sandpipers swimmers set records at Winter Junior Championships

The Winter Junior Championships were a success for the Sandpipers of Nevada swim team.

The Sandpipers won the girls and combined team championships last week in Austin, Texas. Bella Sims, a 2020 Olympic silver medalist, led the Sandpipers with wins in all six of her individual events (500-yard freestyle, 200 individual medley, 200 freestyle, 100 backstroke, 200 backstroke and 200 butterfly).

Sims was also a part of the Sandpipers’ 4×100 freestyle relay team, along with fellow Olympian Katie Grimes, Claire Weinstein and Macky Hodges, that set a national age group record with a time of 3:13.15.

The group also set a national age group record in their 4×200-yard freestyle relay win with a time of 6:52.66 to start the event.

“When things like that start off a swim meet, a big goal of our coaching staff is to carry that energy through the next days, which is something they did very well,” Sandpipers assistant coach Jake Des Roches said.

Grimes set an individual national age group record in the 400-yard individual medley with a time of 3:57.02. Luke Ellis won the 1,650-yard freestyle with a 14:49.79, which is the third-fastest time in the 15-16-year-old male age group.

Chloe Mudadu, Applejean Gwinn, Lucy Warnick, Dillon Wright, Riley Clinton and Jayson Serrano also represented the Sandpipers at the event.

Another Sandpipers swimmer, Ilya Kharun, is competing at the World Junior Championships representing Canada. He set a world junior record in the 50-yard butterfly with a time of 22.28 seconds.

The Sandpipers are now turning their focus to long-course season events and getting back into the Olympic distance pools — as well as continuing to get ready for qualifying for the 2024 Olympics.

“There is a belief system here, and it’s contagious,” Sandpipers head coach Ron Aitken said. “I love watching our beginners to veterans thrive in this environment. It’s always been our goal to give our athletes the best opportunities. Paris in 2024 and Los Angeles in 2028 look promising for Sandpiper athletes.”

Contact Alex Wright at awright@reviewjournal.com. Follow @AlexWright1028 on Twitter.

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