In the community

Olympic hero spends time with Vale swimmers

Kids beat the heat at the first Bella Sims Dream Big Day at the Vale City Pool on Friday, July 29, and the special guest was Sims herself.

As the afternoon heat topped 105 degrees, the pool was the venue for races, dives, raffles, and competitive games of “sharks and minnows.” 

“All the lifeguards are here and having fun,” said pool manager Jodi Sharp. 

Money raised through the Bella Sims Dream Big fund goes to helping kids who can’t afford swim lessons or equipment. 

“Bella is our national treasure,” said Sherri Hironaka, Sims’ grandmother, smiling at the visiting 17-year-old Olympian, who was signing swim caps and photos. Sims will compete at the “Duel in the Pool” meet this August with fellow American swimming champions. 

Bella’s favorite place in Vale, other than the pool and her grandma’s house, is Perk Beverage Co. Before the open swim pool day began, her brother Dylan hid behind the coffee shop’s counter to surprise his sister right when she ordered. 

The whole Sims family supported the Dream Big Fund by egging Bella on to participate in the races and do back flips off the diving board. 

“I’ll give them a head start,” said Sims. “Dream big, swim fast.”

And with that, she dove into the pool. 

A kid at Bella Sims Dream Big day wears a Sims swim cap at the Vale Pool on July 29. (The Enterprise/ISAAC WASSERMAN)
Bella Sims stands for a photo with Vale Pool lifeguards at the on July 29. (The Enterprise/ISAAC WASSERMAN)
Olympic Medalist Bella Sims kicks from the wall during an exhibition swim her event at the Vale Pool on July 29. (The Enterprise/ISAAC WASSERMAN)
A kid throws a pool toy into a ring during a game at Bella Sims Dream Big Day at the Vale Pool on July 29. (The Enterprise/ISAAC WASSERMAN)

Contact reporter Mac Larsen by email at [email protected]

EXCELLENCE IN JOURNALISM – Available for $7.50 a month. Subscribe to the digital service of the Enterprise and get the very best in local journalism. We report with care, attention to accuracy, and an unwavering devotion to fairness. Get the kind of news you’ve been looking for – day in and day out from the Enterprise.