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Katie Grimes is first athlete to qualify for 2024 U.S. Olympic team

Grimes clinches 2024 U.S. Olympic team spot
Katie Grimes finishes third in the open-water 10km at the World Aquatics Championships to become the first athlete to qualify for the 2024 U.S. Olympic team.

The youngest member of the U.S. Olympic team in Tokyo is the first member of the U.S. Olympic team for Paris.

Katie Grimes, 17, became the first American to make the 2024 Olympic team across all sports by winning a bronze medal in the open-water 10km at the world swimming championships in Fukuoka, Japan, on Saturday morning.

The U.S. previously qualified other quota spots for individual athletes and teams for Paris, but who fills those spots is still to be determined.

Grimes earned an Olympic spot for herself with her medal at worlds, where only the medalists earned Olympic berths.

AQUATICS WORLDS: Broadcast Schedule

She got the bronze, and the last Olympic spot, in a photo finish, slapping the board one tenth of a second before Dutchwoman Sharon van Rouwendaal and Brazilian Ana Marcela Cunha, the last two Olympic gold medalists, after 2 hours and 2 minutes in the water.

“I knew it was a photo finish, so I was a little anxious waiting for those results,” Grimes said, according to USA Swimming. “I was in a little bit of shock because (making the 2024 Olympic team) was such a big goal of mine. I just didn’t think it was going to come this soon.”

Grimes, who placed fourth in the Tokyo Olympic 800m freestyle in the pool at age 15, followed that up last year by qualifying for the U.S. team for worlds in both the pool and the open water.

She earned silver medals in the 1500m free and the 400m individual medley in Budapest’s Danube Arena, then placed fifth in the open water in Budapest’s Lake Lupa.

Next year, she is in line to become the youngest American to compete in two Olympics since short track speed skater Nikki Ziegelmeyer in 1992 and 1994 and the youngest American to compete in two Summer Olympics since since swimmer Pokey Watson in 1964 and 1968, according to

Open-water swimming favors experience more than the pool does. The four women who placed ahead of Grimes at last year’s worlds were all 25 and older. Every Olympic open-water swimming medalist has been at least 20 years old save one, according to Olympedia.

Since open-water swimming was added to the Olympic program in 2008, one American has competed in both the pool and the open water in the same Games: Jordan Wilimovsky, who in 2016 was fourth in the 1500m free and fifth in the 10km.

Ron Aitken, who coaches Grimes with the Sandpipers of Nevada, said this spring that, ideally, Grimes would race both should she qualify for the Olympics in each discipline.

Grimes qualified to swim the 1500m free and 400m IM in the pool at worlds later this month. The Olympic Trials in the pool are next June in Indianapolis.

At the Olympics, the open-water 10km races come after the pool swimming events have all finished.

Worlds continue with the men’s open-water 10km on Sunday morning (Saturday night in the U.S.), live on Peacock at 7 p.m. ET. Again, the medalists qualify for the Olympics.

It’s also possible that U.S. surfer Griffin Colapinto mathematically clinches an Olympic spot as early as this weekend at a contest in South Africa.