Grimes, Garach Win U.S. Open Water 10K Titles; SOFLO’s Vallmitjana Swims Junior 5K Boys’ Race Saturday

By Sharon Robb
SARASOTA, April 21, 2023—Katie Grimes won the women’s 10K title in the U.S. Open Water National Championships Friday at Nathan Benderson Park.

In a close race, Grimes, 17, of Sandpipers of Nevada surged to overtake the field and won in 1:58.08. Her club teammates Mariah Denigan (1:58:23) and Claire Weinstein (1:58.24) were second and third. University of Florida’s Anna Auld of West Palm Beach was 13th in 2:03:07. Blair Stoneburg of Treasure Coast Aquatics was 19th in 2:05:15.

Grimes was coming off of an impressive 400 IM at the Fran Crippen SMOC last Saturday. She was close to the NAG record for 17-18 (4:31.81), 3/100ths of a second off Elizabeth Beisel’s time in 2011. The time was the second fastest in the world this year.

Grimes, the 2022 World Championship silver medalist in the women’s 1500 meter and 400 IM, was the 10K favorite. She won gold last year at the World Junior Open Water Championships in both the girls 7.5K and team event, and placed fifth in the women’s 10K at the 2022 World Championships.

In another close race, Carlos Garach of Spain won the men’s 10K title in 1:51.05.65 just ahead of Brennan Gravely, the top American finisher in 1:51.05.78 His brother Dylan Gravely was third in 1:51.07.

Brennan Gravley won the Male Open Water Swimmer of the Year in 2022, an honor named the Fran Crippen Memorial award. He finished tied for tenth in the 5K and 12th in the 10K at worlds. He was part of the American team that finished seventh. Gravley is a senior at University of Florida.

Qualifying spots for the 2023 World Championships were decided off national championships. The winners of the men’s and women’s 10K, Garach and Grimes, both earned a spot in both the 5K and 10K events. The second slot at worlds will go to the top American finisher at the Italian leg of the World Aquatics Open Water World Cup.

South Florida Aquatic Club’s Juan Vallmitjana, 14, competes Saturday in the junior boys 5K national race. Teammate Izzy Wilson, 17, swims Sunday in the junior girls 7.5K.

Sharon Robb can be reached at