SOUTH HADLEY, Mass. - The Mount Holyoke College women's swimming & diving team came back to outscore visiting Simmons College in the final two events to come away with a 153-140 victory this afternoon at MHC Natatorium in South Hadley, Mass. The Sharks fall to 10-2 on the season, while the Lyons improve to 7-2.
The teams split both relays and all 14 individual events with each squad winning seven apiece.
Juniors Miriam Swisher (Albuquerque, N.M.) and Alison Gauvin (Whitefield, Maine) and sophomore Natalie Giraldi (Bedford, N.H.) each won a pair of events to lead Simmons on the day. First year Laura Simpson (Perkiomenville, Pa.) amassed 17 points on a first-place finish to go with a pair of second-place showings.
Senior Cathleen Pruden (Raleigh, N.C.) led all competitors with three first-place finishes to lead Mount Holyoke, while junior Katie Tyler (Hadley, Mass.) tallied 21 points on a pair of first-place showings and a third-place finish.
Gauvin collected her second top effort of the day for the Sharks, winning the three-meter board with a score of 176.70 to outpoint Lyons' senior Emily Ewen (Seymour, Conn.), who scored 156.75 points. The victory gave Simmons a 130-127 lead with two events left in the meet.
Mount Holyoke racked up 15 points in the 200-yard individual medley, led by Pruden's first-place time of 2:14.39. Sophomore Claire Beckett (Haslett, Mich.) finished second for the home team with a time of 2:24.31 to edge Sharks' junior Hannah Plourde (Westfield, Mass.) by just over a half second.
The Lyons headed into the final event with a 142-134 lead for the ninth lead change of the afternoon. A Simmons win, combined with at least a third-place effort in the 200-yard freestyle relay would give the Sharks a win, but Mount Holyoke held strong by winning the relay by just over a second and secure a 153-140 triumph. Junior Emily Craig (Rochester, N.Y.), senior Erica Carvell (Chicago, Ill.), junior Anne Kuenning (Bow, N.H.) and Pruden combined to post a time of 1:41.64 for Mount Holyoke, while the Sharks' quartet of Simpson, junior Jordan Mattheisen (Seattle, Wash.), Giraldi and Swisher finished second. Swisher's anchor split of 23.99 was her fastest of the year, but wasn't enough as she hit the wall with 1:42.69 showing on the board.
Swisher and Giraldi began the meet for Simmons by joining sophomore Michaela Morris (Duxbury, Mass.) and first year Kerry Fleming (Northampton, Mass.) to win the 200-medley relay with a time of 1:54.42.
Pruden and Swisher traded wins over the next two events with Pruden capturing the 1000-freestyle for the Lyons on a time of 10:29.38 to win by just under 45 seconds and Swisher winning the 200-yard freestyle by more than four seconds for the Sharks with a time of 2:00.09.
The squads continued the trend by trading events again as Kuenning took home the 50-yard backstroke by more than a second with a mark of 29.37 for Mount Holyoke, while Giraldi won the 50-yard breaststroke by more than two seconds in 32.19 to give Simmons a 47-46 edge.
The Lyons followed by winning back-to-back events as first year Bri Groves (Reston, Va.) clocked in at 1:02.27 to win the 100-yard butterfly by less than two-tenths of a second over Morris and Tyler hit the wall first in the 50-yard freestyle with a time of 25.65 to give Mount Holyoke a 70-61 margin.
The Sharks countered by winning the next four events with Gauvin shattering her personal-best with 187.70 points to finish ahead of Ewen's 180.20-point output on the one-meter diving board. Simpson followed the event with a victory in the 100-yard freestyle on a personal-record time of 56.06 to finish just ahead of Fleming's time of 56:18 to give the visitors a one-two finish in the race and an 87-81 lead. Swisher won her second event of the day, taking the 100-yard backstroke in 1:00.92 before Giraldi won the 100-yard breaststroke with a time of 1:09.21 to give Simmons its largest lead of the day at 110-96.
The Lyons scored 13 points in the 500-yard freestyle, fueled by a first-place effort from Pruden with a time of 5:20.76 to win by nearly 13 seconds and tallied 14 more points in the 50-yard butterfly to re-claim their lead at 123-121, buoyed by Tyler's first-place finish with a mark of 27.68. Mount Holyoke held on for the win over the final two events.
The Sharks are idle until Friday, February 12 when it opens competition at the New England Intercollegiate Swimming & Diving Association Championships, hosted by the University of Rhode Island in Kingstown, R.I., while Mount Holyoke is back in the pool on February 6 when it travels to Smith College for a 1:00 p.m. dual meet.