Bella Sims Drops 4:38 500 Yard Free, 10th Fastest All-Time in 15-16 Age Group

by Annika Johnson 13

December 20th, 2020 Club, National, News

2020 Las Vegas Super Finals

  • December 18-20, 2020
  • Dixie State University, St. George, Utah
  • Short Course Yards (25 yards)
  • Prelims/finals
  • Live Stream Link
  • Results on Meet Mobile: “2020 UT Las Vegas Super Finals”
  • Results

During Saturday’s finals session, 15-year-old Bella Sims of Sandpipers of Nevada threw down her 3rd and 4th lifetime bests of the meet, starting with a 1:54.89 in the 200 yard fly which established herself as the 16th all-time fastest 15-16 year-old in the event. She bumped Olympic medalist and former world record-holder Katie Hoff’s 15-16 age group time to 17th.

This was a 1.3 second drop from Sims’ 1-year-old personal best. She went out fast by splitting a 54.14 on the first 100, close to her 100 fly lifetime best of 52.84, and brought it home in 1:00.73. Sims’ Sandpiper teammate Paige Kuwata was the only one able to join her under the 2 minute mark, touching the wall in 2nd place with a best time of 1:59.18.

Katie Grimes of Sandpipers pulled away from the field in the 200 back, building an insurmountable lead by the 150 yard mark. 14-year-old Grimes touched the wall 1st with a lifetime best* of 1:55.40, the 18th fastest 200 back ever swam by a 13-14 year-old. Going into the meet her best was a 1:56.45, the 30th all-time fastest time in the age group, which she swam at the Red Rock Invitational earlier this month.

Grimes and Sims also raced the 500 free, going up against their Sandpipers teammate and U.S. National Team member Erica Sullivan. Sims went out the fastest, splitting a 51.16 on the first 100, but Sullivan took the lead by the halfway point. She claimed 1st place by posting a lifetime best of 4:36.21, one and a half seconds faster than her previous best which posted almost exactly 2 years ago. For Sullivan, a 20-year-old Texas commit, this is the 3rd fastest 500 free in DI of the NCAA this year behind Texas senior Evie Pfeifer.

Sims touched the wall in 2nd with another best time of 4:38.21, crushing her previous best from December, 2019 by more than 6 seconds. Going into this meet, Sims’ lifetime best of 4:44.73 was outside the top 100 fastest all-time swims in the 15-16 age group. This time now ranks her 10th, ahead of Sullivans 15-16  age group time, 4:39.66, which stands at #17.

Grimes came in 3rd at 4:44.51, also with a best time, while Kuwata followed up her 200 fly with a 7 second time drop in the 500, claiming 4th place at 4:50.48.

Nick Simons of Lake Oswego Swim Club highlighted the boys’ side of the meet by posting the 8th fastest all-time, 200 back in the 15-16 age group: 1:42.94. 16-year-old Simons increased his lead with each of his underwaters, splitting his race at 50.38 and 52.56 by 100.

He took 2 seconds off his previous best time from March, pre-coronavirus pandemic, leaping from his previous all-time rank at 37th fastest all-time in the age group. In that leap he surpassed 2016 Olympian Jack Conger and Austin Katz, a Texas senior who placed 2nd in the 200 back at the 2019 DI NCAA Championships.

Beach Cities 17-year-old Evan Yoo battled it out with USC class of 2009 grad Kevin Bartell in the 100 breast. Despite an 18 year age gap, the two were neck-and-neck up until the finish. Yoo touched the wall 1st with a best time of 54.57, about half a second ahead of Bartell. Yoo dropped more than 1 second from his previous best which he swam in November, 2019.

16-year-old Brice Barrieault from Sandpipers swam the same challenging double as Sims, the 200 fly and 500 free, claiming victory in both races with best times. He out touched Evan VanBrocklin by .03 in the 200 fly, finishing 1st with a time of 1:50.32. This sliced over 1 second off his previous best from December, 2019.

In the 500, the race for 1st place between Barrieault and Beach Cities’ Mason Romantic came down to the last lap. Barrieault ultimately touched the wall 1st with a time of 4:28.28, breaking the 4:30 barrier for the first time. His swam his previous best, 4:30.40, one year ago. Romantic claimed 2nd place at 4:29.45, about 5 seconds off his lifetime best from Sectionals in February.

Other Standout Swims:

  • 13-year-old Bella Brito from Beach Cities claimed 1st in the 100 breast by posting a 1:03.42, dropping 1.5 seconds  from the lifetime best she swam at Sectionals in February.
  • Sandpipers 16-year-old Audrey Yu won the girls’ 50 free with a best time of 22.64, out touching Beach Cities’ Alexandra Crisera by less than .20, and dropping half a second from her previous best.
  • In the boys’ 50 free, 16-year-old Cruz Tester of SET snagged 1st with a time of 20.96, about half a second off of his lifetime best.

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9 months ago

At 2,700+ ft elevation…

Reply to  flyguy4910
9 months ago

2991 feet!

Reply to  flyguy4910
9 months ago

It’s only above 4000 ft that elevation begins to have any measurable negative effect on performance.

Reply to  Greg
9 months ago

Agree to disagree.

Last edited 9 months ago by flyguy4910
Reply to  Greg
9 months ago

 A. B.
Information on Altitude Adjusted Times May be Found in the USA Swimming Policy Manual. Altitude Adjusted Times may be used to enter USA Swimming Sanctioned Meets; they may not be used for records or recognition purposes.
Times achieved at an altitude of 3,000 feet or above may be adjusted as follows: Time Adjustment

These athletes will be much better at sea level. They are just missing the altitude adjustments by 250feet. At 3000 feet they get 200 free of .6 400/500 2.5sec 1650 11sec.

Reply to  flyguy4910
9 months ago

Awesome swim but altitude not a factor for Sims. The difference in elevation between where Sandpipers train (2,600ft) and St. George (2,900ft) is only 300ft which is negligible..

Reply to  SwimFan
9 months ago

thats still 2900 feet above sea level…are any of those other all-time top times from any altitude at all?

Reply to  SwimFan
9 months ago

But still unquestionably changes things when coming down to sea level

9 months ago

Very fast!

9 months ago

16yo and 1:42 200 back that’s fast😲😲

9 months ago

Why is Simons the only one from Lake Oswego here? He’s having a hell of a meet and I’m sure his teammates are great racers too.

Wanna Sprite
Reply to  AmericanDad
7 months ago

He’s moving to Nevada but idk which team

9 months ago

Go Beach Cities!!!