2 local swimmers likely headed to Tokyo Olympics

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OMAHA, NEBRASKA – JUNE 15: Erica Sullivan of the United States competes in a preliminary heat for the Women’s 1500m freestyle during Day Three of the 2021 U.S. Olympic Team Swimming Trials at CHI Health Center on June 15, 2021 in Omaha, Nebraska. (Photo by Tom Pennington/Getty Images)

LAS VEGAS (KLAS) — Erica Sullivan of the Sandpipers of Nevada Swim Team made history Wednesday night at the Olympic Team Trials in Omaha, Nebraska. Finishing second in the 1500 Meter Freestyle with a time of 15:51.18, an event that was previously not offered to women at the Olympics, Sullivan is all but guaranteed a spot on the Olympic Team.

This second place finish comes off her first National Title in the Open Water 10K race this past April at USA Swimming’s National Championships.

Sullivan, headed to the University of Texas in the fall, has deferred her college enrollment for the past two years to train with the Sandpipers in pursuit of her Olympic dream.

Initially intending to defer the 2019-20 year, COVID and a coaching change at her initial commitment, the University of Southern California, led her to stay in Las Vegas and train with the team that developed her for an additional year.

OMAHA, NEBRASKA – JUNE 16: Bella Sims of the United States reacts after competing in the Women’s 200m freestyle final during Day Four of the 2021 U.S. Olympic Team Swimming Trials at CHI Health Center on June 16, 2021 in Omaha, Nebraska. (Photo by Al Bello/Getty Images)

One of Sullivan’s teammates, Bella Sims, is also likely headed to the Olympic Games with her teammate. Sims finished 5th in the 200 Meter Freestyle with a time of 1:57.53, possibly giving her a team selection as part of the Women’s 4×200 Meter Freestyle Relay.

Out of the hundreds of participants at this year’s USA Olympic Team Trials, Sims was the swimmer qualified in the highest number of different events. She earned a qualifying time in 11 of the 14 different swimming events — all but the 50 Meter Freestyle and 100 & 200 Meter Breaststrokes.

While outside of Olympic consideration, teammate Katie Grimes finished third in the 1500 Meter Freestyle with a time of 15:52.10. This time puts Grimes as the 3rd fastest 15-16 year old girl in history, behind former World Record holder Janet Evans, and current World Record holder Katie Ledecky.

Grimes came back from 6th at the 200 Meter mark all the way to 3rd place, with a last lap time that was 0.9 seconds faster than Ledecky’s winning swim.

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