Bella Sims, Isabel Ivey Dominate as Florida Tops Vanderbilt

Bella Sims of United States of America competes in the Women's Freestyle 200m Heats during the 20th World Aquatics Championships at the Marine Messe Hall A in Fukuoka (Japan), July 25th, 2023.
Bella Sims -- Photo Courtesy: Andrea Masini / Deepbluemedia / Insidefoto

Bella Sims, Isabel Ivey Dominate as Florida Tops Vanderbilt

Already a veteran of an Olympics and two World Championships team, Bella Sims has moved from the Las Vegas area to begin her collegiate career at the University of Florida, where she is already one of the country’s most talented swimmers. Sims has built her international résumé in the 200 freestyle, anchoring the U.S. women to an 800 free world title last year and then qualifying for individual finals in the 200 and 400 free at this year’s Worlds, but her skills in short course stretch across a variety of strokes and distances.

Her first meet with the Gators saw Sims earn three individual wins, in the 100 backstroke (52.64), 100 free (49.20) and 100 butterfly (53.06), and she led off Florida’s winning 200 medley relay, joining Molly MayneOlivia Peoples and Elan Daley for a time of 1:41.11.

Also making her debut for Florida was Isabel Ivey, a graduate transfer from Cal, returning home to Gainesville after her time out west and one year off. Ivey grabbed the win in the 200 free, holding off Olympian and teammate Emma Weyant, 1:47.44 to 1:47.53. Ivey also won the 50 free (23.34) and 200 IM (2:01.64).

Caroline Pennington was a double winner for the Gators in the longer events, topping the 1000 free (9:45.27) and 500 free (4:50.19). Freshman Grace Rainey won the 100 breaststroke in 1:02.54 and the 200 breast in 2:14.70, and another Florida swimmer making her debut, Lainy Kruger, took the 200 fly (1:58.88). Catherine Choate won the 200 back (1:55.86).

Florida finished off its 180-75 win over Vanderbilt in an extremely tight 200 free relay. The Gators B-team of Ekaterine NikonovaAris Runnels, Peoples and Daley took the win in 1:35.29, just ahead of the Florida “A” team (1:35.46) and the Commodores’ top team (1:35.48).

The Gators’ women and men were originally scheduled to begin their season against Florida Atlantic and Nova Southeastern, but the meet was cancelled due to inclement weather, leading the Florida women to focus their attention on this SEC rival.


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