Tribune/WGN-Ch. 9 Preps Plus Athlete of the Month | Downers Grove North swimmer Haley Sims: Hi, water marks

Haley Sims is not used to "can't." Her success has always come in "cans."

She won two individual state championships and helped set a state-meet record in the 200-yard medley relay at the girls swimming and diving state finals last month.

The Stanford-bound senior from Downers Grove North has a 4.6 grade-point average on a weighted scale, scored a 35 on the ACT, participates in community service projects and gives swim lessons in her family's backyard pool.

But there's one thing the Tribune/WGN-Ch. 9 Preps Plus Athlete of the Month for November can't seem to matser.

"I would like to sing and dance, but really can't do it well," she said.

Sims concluded a stellar prep career by winning state championships in the 200 individual medley (2:01.27) and 100 butterfly (54.68). The best part of her weekend, though, was winning the 200 medley relay in a state-record time of 1 minute, 44.15 seconds with her teammates, including her freshmen sisters Gabby and Maddy.

"That was very special," Sims said. "Very few people get a chance to compete alongside their family. It was a lot of fun for us. I don't know if they realize how unique what we did was. It was a real privilege."

Sims comes from a long line of athletes. Her father Dave won a state title at Joliet Catholic in 1980 before swimming for Stanford. Her mother Jan played volleyball for Southern Illinois. Her older brother Burke, also a swimmer for Stanford, won the 500 free state title in 2009, breaking a 20-year-old record in the process.

"We're lucky to have parents with a knowledge about sports and how to take care of athletes," Haley Sims said. "Our parents have been very supportive and helpful throughout all of our careers."

A four-time state qualifier, Sims was named Illinois Swimming's 2010 Female Swimmer of the Year and participated in the Irish Long Course National Championships in Dublin with the U.S. National Club Swimming Association Junior National Team.

She capped her career by leading Downers Grove North to a fourth-place finish at state — the school's highest placing.

"This year was amazing," Sims said. "It was a great ending to my high school career.

"The entire team focused on the goal of getting a trophy at state. Having my sisters there was special. This has been a real great journey for me. At times it was very emotional, but it's been amazing. I'm excited for the next step in my life."


'Instant Replay'

Haley Sims will be featured during a segment on WGN-Ch.9's "Instant Replay" at 9:40 p.m. Sunday. If you miss it, watch the video Monday at

Preps Plus athletes of the month

September: Kapri Bibbs, Plainfield North football

October: Stephanie Miller, Stevenson golf

TribLocal November athletes of the month

Kaitlyn Sendzik, Mount Assisi cross-country

Matt Williams, Geneva football

Kyle Palandech, Plainfield North football

Natalie Steinwart, Aurora Central volleyball

Jose Godinez, Immaculate Conception football

Haley Goers, Hoffman Estates cross-country