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Jena Sims compares training for her SI Swim shoot to husband Brooks Koepka prepping for the US Open

Third time’s a charm for Sports Illustrated Swimsuit’s Jena Sims. 

It took three tries for the 35-year-old model, actress and wife to pro-golfer Brooks Koepka to be named co-winner of The Swim Search and a 2024 rookie in the SI Swimsuit issue.

Sims was four months post-partum when she posed for the issue on the beach in Mexico. Yu Tsai/ Sports Illustrated
Sims was breastfeeding and recovering from a C-section months before the shoot. Yu Tsai/ Sports Illustrated
Sims took her SI Swim journey in stride. “You can apply every single year until you die,” she quipped. Mary Beth Koeth for NY Post

“You can apply every single year until you die,” quipped Sims, who is also a mom to 10-month-old baby Crew.

She’s in good company. Some 52 women — including cover girl Kate Upton, Christie Brinkley, Gayle King and Brittany Mahomes — had to try three times to slip into SI’s illustrious pages.

The timing wasn’t ideal. Sims was just four months postpartum when she was photographed by Yu Tsai Sims in a white, off-the-shoulder bikini in Mexico.

“As soon as I was cleared to, I started eating really clean and working out. I didn’t kill myself over it. I was breastfeeding and recovering from a C-section and when they gave me a firm date. I was like, ‘It’s go time,'” the 5-foot-8 stunner told The Post. “I woke up every day before Crew and worked out six days a week.”

Koepka — the 34-year-old, three-time winner of the PGA Championship and two-time winner of the U.S. Open — gave her crucial support.

Weeks after giving birth, Sims began training for the SI Swim issue. “I was like, it’s go time,” the 5-foot-8 stunner told The Post. Mary Beth Koeth for NY Post
Sims was 8-months pregnant with her son Crew when she walked the runway at SI Swim Week in Miami last July. Getty Images for Sports Illustrated

“I sat him down and said this is going to be the equivalent of me training for a major golf tournament and it kind of resonated with him,” she said. 

“He really stepped up. At that time there weren’t any major tournaments coming up for him,” she said. “If I had a workout and Crew wasn’t asleep he would take care of Crew and just completely worked his schedule around mine, which is what I do for him when he’s training for something. It was so seamless.”

Born and raised in Winder, Georgia, Sims was a small town beauty queen by age 15 and won the Miss Georgia Teen USA crown at 18.

She credits pageant life with helping her come out of her shell – and launching her acting and modeling career.

“It took the pressure off,” Sims says of being visibly pregnant while working the runway. “I was like, you know what? If I do have cellulite I’m allowed to because I’m pregnant. It was so special. Now I see Crew and I’m like, ‘You were literally in this with me.’”  Getty Images for Sports Illustrated
Sims said Koepka, a three-time winner of the PGA Championship and two-time winner of the U.S. Open, played a supporting role during SI Swim training. “If I had a workout and Crew wasn’t asleep he would take care of Crew and just completely worked his schedule around mine, which is what I do for him when he’s training for something. It was so seamless,” she told The Post. Mary Beth Koeth for NY Post
Sims credits her pageant days to helping her break out of her shell and jumpstart her modeling and acting career. Mary Beth Koeth for NY Post

“I learned so much about confidence, stage presence, interview skills and communication. I used to be so shy,” she said. “I don’t even think I could walk into an audition room today if it weren’t for my pageant background.”

But, she empathizes with the former title holders — Miss USA Noelia Voigt, 24, and Miss Teen USA Uma Sofia Srivastava, 17 – who have stepped down at the embattled Miss USA Organization in recent weeks.

“I feel for those girls,” she said. “It’s got to be so heartbreaking to have those expectations and to reach your goal and have it not taken away, but have it not live up to what you dream of as a little girl when you’re practicing in your living room.”

In 2009, she moved to Los Angeles and she soon found work as an actress.

Sims and Koepka had their first child, son Crew, last July. AP

“I got to be the blonde in the horror film that gets her head chopped off,” she said, referring to her role in 2012’s “Attack of the 50 Foot Cheerleader!”

She’s also been eaten by sharks onscreen – in 2015’s “3-Headed Shark Attack” and 2017’s “Sharknado 5: Global Swarming,” in 2017.

But the biggest role she booked was as Koepka’s significant other. In 2015, while living in LA she made the first move.

“I slid into Brooks’ DMs. I had this selfie of me in my apartment in LA and I had a plant that was behind me and it was twiggy. It had died. I said, ‘does this filter make my plant look tan?’” she recalled. “He responded and we were off to the races after that.”

Sims made the first move on Koepka when she sent him this pic in 2015. “I had this selfie of me in my apartment in LA and I had a plant that was behind me and it was twiggy. It had died. I said, ‘Does this filter make my plant look tan?’” Courtesy of Jena Sims
Sims and Koepka’s first date was the Masters Tournament, and as their courtship progressed, Sims made a point of being honest and open. “If I was thinking about him I would tell him. I didn’t play the game,” she said. Rob Schumacher, Rob Schumacher / USA TODAY NETWORK
Sims and Koepka tied the knot in June 2022. Getty Images

Their first date was the Masters Tournament, and as their courtship progressed, Sims made a point of being honest and open.

“If I was thinking about him I would tell him. I didn’t play the game,” she said. “If you want your man, if you really feel the connection, which I did with Brooks, you have to take a little bit of initiative.”

Sims and Koepka tied the knot in June, 2022 in Turks and Caicos.

Now, Sims runs in a tight circle of wives and athletes. At last Thursdays SI Swim party at the Hard Rock Hotel in Times Square, she posed with fellow WAG and SI Rookie Brittany Mahomes.

Born and raised in Winder, Georgia, Sims was a small town beauty queen by age 15 and won the Miss Georgia Teen USA crown at 18. Courtesy of Jena Sims

But the two actually go back years: They first met at the ESPY awards in 2019 and hit it off.

“I relate to her because we’re so, in a way, could be misunderstood. Most stereotypical golf wives don’t have their own career. Their whole life is traveling and supporting their husbands on tour. Which, there’s nothing wrong with that. That’s just not for me personally,” she said.  “That’s not what attracted Brooks to me, and I’m sure that’s not what attracted Patrick to her.”

She insists the Mahomes hasn’t been portrayed fairly in the media and online.

“She’s so kind. The version you see of her in your head is the loud, boisterous, almost abrasive character you see on social media,” she said. She’s not like that in person – she’s so real and she’s beautiful.” 

At last Thursday’s SI Swim party at the Hard Rock Hotel in Times Square, Sims posed with fellow WAG and SI Rookie Brittany Mahomes. jenamsims/Instagram
Sims has mastered the highs and lows of fame: “There’ll always be people who will be like, ‘get a job,’ or ‘stop spending your husband’s money’ or ‘wow it’s a shame you don’t have any of your own hobbies or talent,’ ” she said. Mary Beth Koeth for NY Post
Sims is a proponent of making the first move advising: “If you want your man, if you really feel the connection, which I did with Brooks, you have to take a little bit of initiative.” Getty Images
Sims has had to learn to block out the negativity — whether it’s about her or her friends. “I always tell myself, you can be the ripest, juiciest peach and there’s always going to be someone who doesn’t like peaches,” she said. Mary Beth Koeth for NY Post

Sims has had to learn to block out the negativity — whether it’s about her or her friends.

“I always tell myself, you can be the ripest, juiciest peach and there’s always going to be someone who doesn’t like peaches,” she said.

“There’ll always be people who will be like, ‘get a job,’ or ‘stop spending your husband’s money’ or ‘wow it’s a shame you don’t have any of your own hobbies or talent.’ ”