Bella Sims

View Current photo via Courtesy of Jack Spitser

Bella Sims is a competitive swimmer who represents the United States internationally. At the 2021 Olympic Trials, at the age of 16, Sims qualified for the Olympic Team as a member of the 4×200 free relay by finishing 5th in the 200 free.

National/International Career

Coming into the 2021 Olympic Trials, Bella Sims was already getting quite a bit of attention. She had hit the most Olympic Trial cuts of any swimmer in the country (11) and ended up competing in 4 events at the Wave II meet: 100, 200, 800 free, and 100 fly.

She was also ranked #1 in SwimSwam’s Way Too Early Recruit Ranks for the Class of 2023, which came out on June 3, 2021, just before the trials started.

2021 Olympic Trials (Omaha, Nebraska)

In Omaha, Sims started her program with the 100 fly on day 1, tying for 33rd in a time of 1:00.02. In her next event, the 200 free, she made huge strides, qualifying for the final and ultimately finishing 5th in 1:57.53, earning her a spot on the Olympic team for the 4×200 free relay. This made her the lowest seed (39th) to make the US Olympic swimming team since 2000.

She finished the meet by swimming prelims of the 100 free (48th, 56.48) and prelims/finals of the 800 free, finishing 5th overall at 8:23.55.

2020 Olympic Games

At her first Olympic Games, Sims led off the 800 free relay in the prelims, splitting 1:58.59 to help the US advance to the final. The team would go on to finish 2nd, netting Sims a silver medal.

2022 World Championship Trials

In Greensboro, Bella made her first world championships team by finishing 5th in the 200 free (1:57.71). She also went a slue of personal bests, including in the 400 free (4:06.61, 3rd), 800 free (8:22.36, 3rd), 1500 free (16:15.87, 3rd), and 200 fly (2:11.42, time trial).

2022 World Championships

In Budapest, Sims made the most of her 2 relay swims. On day 5 in the prelims of 800 free relay, Sims anchored USA’s relay in 1:55.91, helping them secure a spot in the final and earning herself a swim on the night relay. In the final, Sims anchored once again, going over a second faster than she did in prelims to bring USA home in 1:54.60 for gold in a new championship record.

2023 U.S. International Team Trials (Indianapolis, Indiana)

To the surprise of some and the joy of others, Sims was able to palace 8th in the prelims of the 100 free with 54.18. It seemed like the buzz of Swimswam comment sections and Swimming Twitter with hashtag #letbellasprint was manifesting but Sims finished 7th in the final, just out of a relay spot, with a 53.73. In the 200 free, Sims cracked a new best time of 1:57.07 in the prelims for 4th. In the finals, she dropped a further .99 second to 1:56.08 to place 3rd and secure qualification for Worlds. 

Next, she took on the 400 free. She laid off the pedal in prelims with a 4:o7.96 to earn the 4th seed for finals. In the final, Sims led for the 1st 100 with a 57.47 but Katie Ledecky reeled her in. Sims secured an individual berth at worlds with her 2nd place behind Ledecky in a fantastic 4:03.25.

2023 World Aquatics Championships (Fukuoka, Japan)

Sims opened her meet with the 400 free, qualifying for the final with a 4:04.25. In the final, Sims ended up 8th in 4:05.37. In the 200 free, Sims made it through prelims with a 1:57.71 and qualified for the final with a 1:55.45, a new personal record. In the final, Sims was a bit off in 1:56.00 for 6th. On relays, Sims was an excellent 1:54.64 to help the US to a silver in the 800 free relay and a 54.05 to anchor the prelims mixed 400 free relay that later took silver.

International Medals

Place Event Year Meet
Silver 800 Freestyle Relay 2021 Olympic Games
Gold 800 Freestyle Relay 2022 World Championships
Silver 800 Freestyle Relay 2023 World Championships
Silver 400 Mixed Free Relay 2023 World Championships

Best Times

Course Event Time Date Meet
lcm 200 Free 1:55.45 07/24/23 2023 World Aquatics Championships
Fukuoka, Japan
lcm 400 Free 4:03.25 06/28/23 2023 International Team Trials
Indianapolis, Indiana
lcm 800 Free 8:22.36 04/26/22 2021 World Championship Trials
Greensboro, North Carolina
scy 100 Free 47.16 12/10/22 2022 Winter Jr Championships - West
Austin, Texas
scy 200 Free 1:40.78 12/07/22 2022 Winter Jr Championships - West
Austin, Texas
scy 500 Free 4:28.64 12/08/22 2022 Winter Jr Championships - West
Austin, Texas
scy 1650 Free 15:48.70 12/19/21 2021 CA Dec CA NV Speedo Sectionals
Las Vegas, Nevada
scy 100 Back 50.53 12/09/22 2022 Winter Jr Championships - West
Austin, Texas
scy 200 Back 1:48.32 12/10/22 2022 Winter Jr Championships - West
Austin, Texas
scy 200 Fly 1:51.06 12/10/22 2022 Winter Jr Championships - West
Austin, Texas
scy 200 IM 1:52.73 12/08/22 2022 Winter Jr Championships - West
Austin, Texas
scy 400 IM 3:56.59 12/17/22 2022 California/Nevada Sectioonals
La Mirada, California
Bella Sims (photo: Jack Spitser) Bella Sims (photo: Jack Spitser) Arabella Sims (photo: Jack Spitser) Arabella Sims (photo: Jack Spitser) Arabella Sims (photo: Jack Spitser) Arabella Sims (photo: Jack Spitser) Arabella Sims (photo: Jack Spitser)