Bella Sims Drops Over Two Seconds in 200 IM with 2:12.19 at Speedo Grand Challenge

2023 Speedo Grand Challenge

  • May 26-28, 2023
  • William Woollett Aquatics Center
    • Irvine, CA
  • LCM (50 meters)
  • Results on MeetMobile: “2023 CA NOVA-Speedo Grand Challenge”

With one month remaining until the 2023 International Team Trials, Bella Sims gave a glimpse of what we might see in Indianapolis with a pair of personal bests in the 200-meter IM and 100 butterfly at this weekend’s Speedo Grand Challenge in Irvine, California.

The 18-year-old Florida commit fired off a 2:12.19 to win the 200 IM, edging Sandpipers of Nevada teammate Katie Grimes by less than half a second. Sims shaved more than two seconds off her previous-best 2:14.32 from January’s Pro Swim Series stop in Knoxville, Tennessee. Grimes missed her lifetime best by just .01 seconds with a 2:12.67. Both Sims and Grimes would have placed fourth at last year’s International Team Trials with their times on Friday night.

Fellow Sandpipers standout Claire Weinstein placed fifth in the 200 IM final with a personal-best 2:16.40, taking a second off her previous best.

Sims was 46th in the U.S. girls’ 17-18 national age group (NAG) rankings, but her big drop boosted her up to 19th. She went 2:16.93 at last April’s International Team Trials, meaning she has dropped nearly five seconds over the past year. Her biggest improvement this time around came on the breaststroke leg, where she dropped over a second.

Splits Comparison

Sims, January Sims, May
50 Back 28.49 28.28
50 Fly 33.07 32.68
50 Breast 42.37 41.19
50 Free 30.39 30.04
200 IM 2:14.32 2:12.19

Sims tallied another best time in the 100 fly, shaving about a tenth off her previous best from January with a 59.74. In the process, she moved up from 79th to 69th in the NAG rankings.

Sims nearly posted another lifetime best in the 50 free, tying for second place with a 26.17 that was just .05 seconds off her best time from March.

Grimes reached the wall first in the 400 free (4:08.57) and 400 IM (4:38.01), about three seconds and six seconds off her best times, respectively. She was also the top seed during Sunday morning’s prelims of the 800 free (8:33.49) and 200 fly (2:13.14).

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3 months ago

Where are the psych sheets for Mel Zajac this weekend? The link on the meet page is broken

Ed VanDorson
3 months ago

Bella is going to be fun to watch next year in college. She is scary in short course busting the walls.

Lap Counter
Reply to  Ed VanDorson
3 months ago

If she doesn’t take a redshirt and train at home!

Wanna Sprite?
3 months ago

Breastroke is such an interesting stroke where people are either amazing at it, or horrible, and there’s really no in between.

Reply to  Wanna Sprite?
3 months ago

Yep, breaststrokers are born, not made.

3 months ago

Crazy that she’s never been 25. She was out 25.8 when she split 1:54.

Reply to  Noah
3 months ago

Because it was a relay start.

Reply to  IMO
3 months ago

Still breathing every other and flipping to the feet

eye guy
Reply to  IMO
3 months ago

How many people do you know take out their 200 free leg on a relay faster than their 50 Free time? Lol.

Becky D
Reply to  eye guy
3 months ago

People who don’t swim the 50 very often.

About Riley Overend

Riley is an associate editor interested in the stories taking place outside of the pool just as much as the drama between the lane lines. A 2019 graduate of Boston College, he arrived at SwimSwam in April of 2022 after three years as a sports reporter and sports editor at newspapers …

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