Sims City

Amanda Sims' Career at Cal Isn't Over, But the Swimmer Already Has Plenty to Be Proud of

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When asked what word encompasses her entire swimming career thus far with the Cal women's swim team, Amanda Sims replies, "Pride."

"I think the reason that I have done so well and our team has done so well is that we take a lot of pride in representing Cal," she says. "We want to do the best for our school and for each other and for our coaches."

The junior from Santa Rosa, Calif., has much to be proud of.

Sims, who has been swimming since she was six years old, said she saw the seriousness of swimming in her future when she was about 13. Having a dad who not only is a Cal alum but also a member of the Bears' 1979 NCAA championship swimming team seems like it played into her swimming pursuits and college choice. For Sims, however, this did not seem to be the case.

"My dad actually told me he never wanted me to swim because he hated morning practice and didn't want to put me through that, but I swam anyways," says Sims. "I don't think that influenced me coming to Cal. We always had Cal stuff around the house so I was always more comfortable coming here than other people from the outside would think."

Despite what her father told her, Sims continued to pursue her passion. And that led her to swim for her father's alma mater.

Like her father, Sims has a championship title under her belt. In her case, it came at the 2009 NCAA championships in the 100-yard butterfly.

The butterfly champion posted a personal record time in the 100 fly in the NCAA prelims last year with a time of 51.12 seconds. She even tied for fourth place in the 200-yard fly and was part of the 200 medley relay team that placed sixth.

"I think the relays are so fun," says Sims. "You get energy from your teammates in your individual races, but nothing compares to how you get it in the relays, especially in knowing that the faster you go, the faster the four of you go and the better you look together."

Also in 2009, Sims was selected as one of the 26 swimmers to participate in the World University Games for the United States in Serbia. She broke her then-PR time in the 100-meter fly by capturing fourth place in 59.45 seconds and swam in the semifinals in the 50-meter fly as well.

Another 2009 earning to be proud of was her title as Pac-10 All-Academic honorable mention. A history major, Sims said she appreciates the time to take a break to think about something other than swimming.

Depending on her swimming future, Sims hopes to go to graduate school to possibly pursue a teaching degree.

Her academic ambitions are definitely a consideration, but it appears that she's still weighing her options in swimming.

"If I had the opportunity to stay for a fifth year, I would love to swim for Teri (McKeever) and continue to represent for Cal," says Sims. "If I stayed, I would swim at the 2012 (Olympic) Trials and see where it goes from there. I would keep competing at USA Swim Meets in the summer and see if I do well enough making other teams and things like that."

Considering her junior standing, Sims still has a couple more seasons with the Bears under McKeever and assistant coach Kristen Lewis-Cunnane. She noted that Cal's program is a lot different than other collegiate programs, saying there are many facets to it.

"I feel like we stress the little things a lot in carrying things from the pool to the outside world," Sims says. "We don't swim 10,000 yards a day. We do spin, dance, we lift weights, do kickboxing, and step. It is about body movement and athleticism, not just in the pool, but in your lifestyle as well."

All these forms of training come with the innovation of McKeever's coaching style-one that has helped shape Sims' experiences starting with her first season under McKeever's tutelage. Sims' successes over the years have shown her hard work and given her something to be proud of.

"I think when I came into Cal, I was a little hesitant and I talked to (McKeever) the summer before my freshman year and she said to me, 'Just be excited to swim fast with a Cal cap on.' I think that is the best advice anyone has ever given me," says Sims. "Wearing a Cal cap comes with so much pride, and I feel like you are so excited to race when you have it on."


Contact Kelly Suckow at [email protected]

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