Sims is 100 butterfly champion

By PHIL BARBER
THE PRESS DEMOCRAT
Amanda Sims is back where she wanted to be — at the top of the nation’s butterfly swimmers. Sims, the Montgomery High grad who is in her senior season at Cal, easily took first place in the 100-yard butterfly Friday at the NCAA Division I women’s swimming and diving championship in Austin, Texas, finishing in 50.49.

Former Montgomery High swimmer Amanda Sims, who now competes with Cal, won the women's 100-yard butterfly with a time of 50.49 seconds Friday night at the NCAA Women's Swimming and Diving Championships in Austin, Texas. Michael Thomas / Associated Press

She was more than a second faster than the second-place finisher, Claire Donahue of Western Kentucky, and faster than any swimmer in Cal history except for Olympian Natalie Coughlin (50.01 in 2002). Sims’ efforts helped the Golden Bears to the tournament lead after two days.

It was a return to the summit for Sims, who was the 2009 NCAA champion in the 100 fly before falling to third last year. Actually, she went one stroke better and shattered her personal record in the event this time around.

Sims also helped the Bears’ 200-yard medley relay team get into the finals, swimming the butterfly leg as Cal finished fourth in a preliminary race. But because the 200 medley and 100 fly were so close in proximity during the final round, Sims chose to sit out the relay; her teammates set a new American record in the final.

Maria Carrillo grad Maya DiRado also hit paydirt again at the championship. The Stanford freshman finished third in the 400-yard individual medley at 4:01.02, just fifteen-hundredths of a second behind second-place Elizabeth Beisel of Florida. DiRado was fourth going into the final leg of the race, but overtook Cal’s Caitlin Leverenz while swimming the fastest freestyle laps in the pool.

It was easily DiRado’s fastest 400 IM ever, shattering her former best of 4:02.48. She overtook the famed Summer Sanders for second on Stanford’s all-time charts in the grueling event; the only Cardinal still above DiRado is Julia Smit, and her 3:58.23 last year was an American record.

DiRado and her poolmates didn’t fare as well in the 800-yard freestyle relay, the last event of the day. The Stanford team, which included two freshmen and a sophomore, finished ninth with DiRado swimming the breaststroke leg.
Stanford is in fourth place heading into today’s finale.

Neither of the local products is finished in Austin. DiRado is scheduled to swim the 200 backstroke today, and Sims is slated for the 200 butterfly.