Bella Sims Likely Qualifies for Olympic Team with 1:57.53 200 Free, #3 15-16


Bella Sims, a 16-year-old out of Sandpipers of Nevada, has in all likelihood made the Olympic Team after finishing 5th in the women’s 200 free final tonight. Sims drop time yet again tonight, posting a 1:57.53 in the final. Although it’s not guaranteed that Sims will make the team with her 5th-place finish, the 5th place swimmer from Trials nearly always ends up earning a spot on the Olympic Team for the 4×200 free relay.

Sims swam a personal best in prelims, semifinals, and finals, improving on her entry time by a grand total of 2.40 seconds. Here is a table showing Sims’ progression in the 200 free throughout the meet:

Pre-Trials Personal Best (11/13/2020) Olympic Trials – Prelims Olympic Trials – Semifinals Olympic Trials – Finals
1:59.93 1:59.16 1:58.00 1:57.53

At just 16, Sims is now one of 5 teenagers to have earned spots on the team so far. Fellow teens Torri Huske, Claire Curzan, Lydia Jacoby, and Regan Smith have also each already earned spots on the team. That marks a huge difference from 2016, where Katie Ledecky was the youngest swimmer on the team at 19, and the only teenager.

Additionally, Sims is now #3 all-time in the 15-16 age group in the 200 free, behind only Missy Franklin and Katie Ledecky. Here is the current all-time top 5 for 15-16 girls:

Rank Swimmer Time
1 Missy Franklin 1:55.06
2 Katie Ledecky 1:56.32
3 Bella Sims 1:57.53
4 Dagny Knutson 1:57.73
5 Claire Tuggle 1:58.21

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Bobo Gigi
2 years ago

Congrats To Bella Sims and her coach.
She will learn a lot from her olympic experience in Tokyo and it will pay off in Paris.

2 years ago

I still think it’s jaw dropping she has trials cuts in so many events. I hope we see lots more of her in years to come!

2 years ago

Emma Weyant is also a teenager on the team (only 19)

2 years ago

Only behind two Olympic and world champions, that in itself speaks volumes.
I don’t see why she can’t go a 156 split in the morning if she is able to go based on the 26 swimmer cap

Wave 1.5 Qualifier
2 years ago

And in retrospect, great strategy for a qualifier of 11 events to clear a path for herself to be rested for this.

Texas Tap Water
2 years ago

These 4×200 will struggle to win gold 😞

Reply to  Texas Tap Water
2 years ago

they were never a lock in the first place ….for months

2 years ago

Best Times – Calendar Year 2021


AUS will demolish the world record in the women’s 4 x 200 meter freestyle relay.


USA will be lucky to hold off CAN and CHN.

Reply to  Texas Tap Water
2 years ago

There is no way US will win gold either 4×200. Aussie women have 4 faster than US first place 200.

Reply to  Laneline
2 years ago

unless sims pulls a 2011 shanghai missy franklin leg off, sims improvement curve is insane!

Texas Tap Water
Reply to  Swimfan
2 years ago

So, if sims pulls a 2011 shanghai missy franklin leg off, US can win gold?

Reply to  Texas Tap Water
2 years ago

Comparing flat starts vs flat starts, the US women are about 6 seconds behind the Aussies right now. The Aussies swam their 200 free about 2 days ago so comparing on the same time basis.

Reply to  Texas Tap Water
2 years ago

The US isn’t even a lock for silver anymore. The Canadian girls top 5 over the past year and a half are all faster than the US top 5. Ruck has been 153 for the Canucks and they now have 3 others with legit looks at 154-156 splits.
And the quiet concern no one wants to say openly is that we will have to see what happens in the 100 but there’s an actual chance between the Aussie, Dutch and Canadian squads that the US may not even podium in the 400 Fr Relay. All 3 other teams have girls that can/have gone 51-52.0 on flat start (not to mention C1 seemingly “on” at their Trials – so 51.0… Read more »

2 years ago

So Sandpipers of Nevada is a pretty good team huh

Reply to  Reid
2 years ago

Sims and now Sullivan. They’re having quite a night!

Reply to  USA
2 years ago

Grimes also rocked her 1500. Nearly ran down Erika

Reply to  Rnkenfiedj
2 years ago

Grimes last 50 was 0.5 faster than any last 50 of the women’s 200 free final. Shocked the commentators did not even mention her the entire race.

Reply to  USA
2 years ago

Grimes most impressive race of the 3 Sandpipers ladies, but didn’t make team by less than 1.0.