Katie Grier, Nationally Recognized Swimmer, Dead at 43

Katie Grier, a standout swimmer from William & Mary, died this week. She was 43 years old. According to her obituary, Grier died of complications from breast cancer. She was cared for by her father, Gary, and her two children, Ian and Sophia. She is also survived by her brother, Jeremy, and a number of friends and teammates. 

According to Swim Swam, Grier grew up in Arizona where she was a top youth weather polo player. She focused on swimming when she moved to Virginia and was the captain of her swim team at Harrisonburg High School. From there, Grier enrolled in Willam & Mary and had a memorable career. She was on two CAA Champion 200 medley relays and set school records in 50, 100, and 200 free events. Grier finished her career with 52 victories and 1,127.25 total points. 

In 2014, Grier came out of retirement and created Club Tribe Masters Swimming, a USMS club in Virginia. It led to her earning 11 USMS All-American honors (five individuals and six relays) as well as 37 USMS No. 1 rankings (17 individual and 20 relays). Grier holds seven USMS national records in relay events and 41 masters state records.

As her obituary mentioned, Grier was "hilarious, sarcastic, considerate, self-sacrificing, and generous. If a group needed to be purchased, she led the charge. If someone needed encouragement, she was on the phone. Even under the most difficult of circumstances, one could imagine - in the final year of her life - she never sought sympathy or took a moment to feel sorry for herself. She could give brutally honest feedback without being offensive. She was the first to praise, and she was an utterly loyal friend. Most importantly to Katie, she loved her children more than anything in the world. 

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Grier's final contribution to William & Mary swimming was fighting for he program before it was cut last year due to the COVID-19 pandemic. "As a department, we simply can no longer continue on an unsustainable financial trajectory," wrote athletics director Samantha K. Huge in a letter to the school community in September 2020. "We will do everything that we can for the impacted student-athletes and coaches, and I sincerely hope they are able to participate in one final season of competition. Today is a sad day for all of us who love William & Mary."