Simidele ran 54.19secs in run 1 and 54.58secs in run 2.
The South Africa-based athlete, 36, who made history as the first African to qualify for the skeleton event at the Winter Games, returns to feature in runs 3 and 4 today.
Canada-born triple jumper Simidele could make it to the podium if she puts on a better performance this time round.
Germany’s Jacqueline Lolling came first after running in 51.74secs and 52.12secs. She is followed by Austria’s Janine Flock who finished her two runs in 51.81secs and 52.07secs respectively. Great Britain’s Lizzy Yarnold took third with 51.66secs and 52.30secs.
The country’s other athletes at the event – Akuoma Omeoga, Seun Adigun and Ngozi Onwumere – will compete in the bobsleigh on February 20.
Meanwhile, Ghana’s Akwasi Frimpong finished last in his Olympic debut but was a smash-hit nonetheless with his plucky efforts in the crackpot sliding sport of skeleton on Friday.
The 32-year-old, who spent two years selling vacuum cleaners door-to-door to finance his unlikely journey to Pyeongchang, now can’t wait to take a deserved break and go lie on a beach.
“I’m going to take my wife on vacation,” Frimpong told AFP.
“I don’t know where yet, but somewhere warm – I want the sun and the sand. Hopefully I can surprise her by taking her somewhere like Hawaii. Or maybe the Dominican Republic, where we went on honeymoon.”
Despite freezing temperatures Frimpong has lit up the Olympic skeleton competition.
He trailed home in 30th position – over 11 seconds behind eventual winner Yun Sung-bin of South Korea after his third and final run – but still felt like a champion.
“I came last but the most important thing is that I won the hearts of the people,” said Frimpong, who previously failed to qualify for the Olympics as a sprinter and in bobsleigh.
“The Olympic experience was awesome. I’ve never been in a place where so many people are cheering you on,” he added after becoming only the second athlete from Ghana to compete at a Winter Games.
“You feel like you’re a gold medallist, that’s how they make you feel with each run. It’s incredible.”
Frimpong smiled sheepishly when asked what it feels like to throw oneself off an icy mountain head-first at 125kmph (77mph) on what looks, to the casual observer at least, like a glorified baking tray.
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