Natalie Hinds is a 2021 Olympian and 20x All-American for the University of Florida.
Hinds Made history for her 1-2-3 finish in the 100-yard free at the 2015 NCAA Championships with Simone Manuel and Lia Neal. The finish was the first time that African American athletes swept the event.
Midland High School
Prior to joining the University of Florida, Hinds was a high school student at Midland High. She was the no. 13 recruit in the class of 2012, and was the top recruit out of Texas. She was named the Female Swimmer of the UIL Class 5A 2011 meet and was a district record holder in the 100-yard back and 100-yard fly.
As a freshman Hinds earned seven All-America honors, tying for the most honors on Florida’s team. At the NCAA Championships Hinds finished 3rd in the 100-yard free, and won the consolation final in both the 100-yard fly and the 50-yard free. She was also named the SEC Female Freshman of the Year after finishing in the top eight in all her events, and took the title in the 100 fly.
Hinds had another successful season as a sophomore — she had three individual All-America honors and three relay All-America honors. Hinds set a Florida Record in the 100-yard free (47.40) and 50-yard free (21.66), but was also a member of the 200-yard medley relay that won a bronze, the 400-yard medley that took 4th and swam on the 9th place 200-yard freestyle relay.
Hinds made history as a junior as she, Lia Neal and Simone Manuel became the first African-American swimmers to go 1-2-3 in a single event. Besides her bronze medal finish in the 100-yard free, Hinds also took 5th in the 100-yard fly and helped Florida to a 7th place finish in the 400 free relay.
At her final NCAAs, Hinds tied for 12th in the 50 free (22.15), 17th in the 100 fly (52.41), and 6th (47.59) in the 100 free. She also swam on Florida’s 14th place 400 free relay.
Natalie finished her career at UF as a 20x All-American.
At the 2014 Phillips 66 National Championships Hinds competed in five individual events, and went best times in three. A year later she swam the 2015 Championships, but failed to advance to the championship finals in her individual events.
2016 Olympic Trials
At what she thought would be the last meet of her career, Hinds swam the 50 free (26.08, 55th), 100 free (56.31, 40th), and 100 fly (1:01.08, 70th) at the 2016 Olympic Trials.
Comeback with Georgia Post-Grad Group
After time away from the pool, which included getting a job at Turner Broadcasting in Atlanta, Hinds found herself wanting to compete once again. She inquired about training with the post-grad group at UGA, and made the move to Athens in the fall of 2018.
At her first meet back, the 2018 Georgia Senior State Championships, Hinds turned heads by going near bests in her 3 primary events (50 free, 100 free, 100 fly), as well as going a best in her 100 back. At the Knoxville Pro Swim in January 2019 (her first long course meet since 2016 Olympic Trials), she went best times in all 4 events she swam (50/100 free, 50/100 fly), twice in some (prelims and finals).
ISL – Cali Condors
On June 11, 2019, Natalie Hinds was announced as a member of the Cali Condors ISL team, headed by GM Jason Lezak.
2019 Summer Nationals
At nationals in Irvine, Hinds placed 5th in the 100 free (54.34) and 50 free (25.02) and 8th in the 100 fly (58.78).
2021 Atlanta Classic
The 2021 ATL Classic was a preview of things to come as Natalie Hinds was hitting her stride at the Olympic tune-up meet. On night 1 she hit a best time of 58.61 in the 100 fly, tying Gretchen Walsh for first place and the meet record. The next night she tied for 2nd with Julie Meynen in the 50 free at 25.37, less than .2 away from her PR. She finished the meet off with another lifetime best in the 100 free (54.29), this time taking a narrow victory over her training partner Olivia Smoliga.
2021 Olympic Trials
Hinds started her trials off with a best time on the first day of competition in the 100 fly, posting a 58.40 in the semi-final to place 11th overall. Hinds didn’t race again until day 5 of trials, when she swam the 100 free. After nearing her PB in prelims (54.34), Hinds and her UGA teammate Smoliga put on a show in Semi-finals, tying for the top spot heading into finals at 53.55.
In the final, Hinds touched for 4th at 53.84, punching her ticket to Tokyo and making her a first-time Olympian.
Hinds finished her meet in the 50 free the following day, touching for 11th again in her 3rd best time of the week (25.14).
2021 Olympic Games
Hinds started off her Games on Day 1 in prelims of the 4×100 free relay, where she anchored USA in a team-best split of 53.28 to touch 2nd in heat 1 behind Great Britain and get the Americans a spot in the final. Hinds was the only swimmer retained on the finals relay, where she swam the 3rd leg in 53.15 to help the US touch for 3rd overall and earn a bronze medal.