Team USA's Katie Grimes Reacts To Comparisons With Katie Ledecky

Team USA's Katie Grimes Reacts To Comparisons With Katie Ledecky

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Katie Grimes has been the "one to watch" for quite some time.

The 18-year-old, who competed in the 2020 Olympics at just 15 years old as Team USA's youngest athlete, was also the first American to qualify for the 2024 Games (a year ago, BTW). But Grimes tries not to take it all too seriously.

"There are times where it can get to me and I can definitely go down that rabbit hole of like, 'Oh my gosh, people who I don't even know have expectations for me.' I can sometimes get freaked out by that,'" she exclusively tells Women's Health. "But it's really just exciting to me. Being able to qualify again, it's just so awesome."

Grimes qualified for the Olympics after taking bronze in the open water 10-kilometer race at the 2023 world championships. And this weekend, she'll test herself at the Olympic Trials in Indianapolis.

The Nevada native, who chatted with Women's Health on behalf of her partnership with Powerade for their "It Takes More" campaign, says that to handle the pressure, taking care of herself outside of the gym is a "must."

Below, Grimes shares how she takes care of her mental health amid all the pressures of the Olympic Games, and shares how she leans on fellow swimmers like Katie Ledecky for support.

Katie prioritizes time with friends and family.

Ahead of the Olympic trials, Grimes has been focusing on training. But after practice, she says she "cherishes" free time with friends, parents, or her seven siblings, which she calls her "self-care."

"I don't take it for granted," she says.

To unwind, she enjoys baking with her father Christian (her favorite recipe is banana bread) and shopping with her mother Shari. Currently, the two are prepping for her time in Paris, so they're purchasing lots of summer clothes.

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Katie Grimes and her parents, Christian and Shari, at the 2023 Golden Goggle Awards.Kevork Djansezian - Getty Images

Grimes uses music to either to hype herself up or relax, depending on the time of day. Her pump-up playlist for the pool includes Dua Lipa's new album Radical Optimism, while her cool-down includes classic or soft rock artists like Fleetwood Mac. "I don't need to get my heart rate up to go home and eat dinner!" she adds.

But it's her friends and family who bring her back to center.

"I have such a good support system around me—they're constantly reminding me that I'm good enough even without swimming," she says. "So whatever happens, as long as I do my best and as long as I achieve what I know I'm capable of then, I think I'll just be just fine."

She leans on mentors like Katie Ledecky.

In 2021, Grimes made headlines when she became part of "Katie Squared"—the duo of Katie Grimes and Katie Ledecky, a nickname created by Ledecky, 27. The two were teammates in Tokyo, and Grimes came in fourth during Ledecky's winning 800m freestyle.

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Katie Ledecky and Katie Grimes during the Olympics in Tokyo.Ryan Pierse - Getty Images

And Grimes, who will likely be teammates with Ledecky once again during the 2024 Games, says she's inspired by the gold medalist.

"She's been in the sport forever, and she's done just about everything," Grimes says. "So being able to see her poise and class when it comes to interviews or anything after the race—being able to see how she handles that was important for me to see."

Grimes recalled being with Ledecky ahead of the 800m finals. Ledecky was able to encourage her younger teammate while still keeping a competitive edge.

"To know that I have someone next to me that I could lean on was super important," Grimes says.

In 2021, Grimes also bonded with "great friend" and swimmer Regan Smith, whom she hopes she'll see in Paris this summer.

"She's a really big, big advocate on betting on yourself," Grimes says. "That's one thing that I've learned from her: just being able to trust in me and what I can do."

Katie uses logic to talk herself out of a spiral.

Speaking of betting on herself, Grimes says it can sometimes be easy to go down the "rabbit hole" of pressures upon her, adding that she can go through "phases" of thinking about them too much.

But when she gets in her own head, Grimes says she uses reason to pull herself out of it.

"I just try and say, 'What's the worst case scenario of if these things don't happen if I don't meet these people's expectations?'" she says. "People that are real will be happy with me with whatever outcome happens."

"People can think whatever they want, but they just don't have a clue," she continues.

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