WINTHROP, Mass. – Simmons College's Laura Simpson (Perkiomenville, Pa.) was named the Eastern College Athletic Conference New England and Great Northeast Athletic Conference Women's Swimming & Diving Athlete of the Week, for the week of January 23-29, it was announced today by the league.
The GNAC honor has been handed out to four different Sharks this season for a total of six times. Senior Miriam Swisher (Albuquerque, N.M.) received the accolade for the weeks of October 24-30 and November 28 to December 4, while classmate Hannah Plourde (Westfield, Mass.) was the GNAC's top female swimming athlete for the week of November 14-20. Sophomore Kerry Fleming (Northampton, Mass.) was the conference recipient for the weeks of January 9-15 and January 16-22.
Simpson earns the accolade after winning three individual events in the team's 186-102 victory over visiting Mount Holyoke College on January 28. The sophomore clocked in at 10:59.30 to finish first in the 1000-yard freestyle to begin her day and wasted no time in winning her second event, touching the wall first in the very next event with a mark of 2:03.46 from the eighth lane. The Boyertown High School graduate capped her outstanding individual showing with a win in the 500-yard freestyle, registering a time of 5:32.11 to win by more than 12 seconds and give her 27 points for the day.
The second-year swimmer has been outstanding all season for Simmons, racking up 22 top-three efforts in 24 events, while winning 16 races. The distance swimmer has excelled in freestyle events and has not lost a 1000-yard and 1650-yard race this season with six and two victories, respectively. Simpson scored 76 points for the third-highest total at the GNAC Championships from December 3-4, winning the 500 and 1000-yard freestyle events in addition to capturing the crown in the 400-yard individual medley to earn All-Conference honors for the second straight year. Her time of 10:57.14 set a new conference championship record and her 400-IM mark of 4:52.32 smashed the school and GNAC standard. Simpson also finished third in the 200-yard freestyle at the championship meet.
For her career, the Exercise Science major has won 33 of 49 races that she's entered and owns school records for the 500-yard freestyle (5:08.77), 1000-yard freestyle (10:37.96) and 1650-yard freestyle (17:44.67) in addition to her 400-IM mark. She was named the GNAC Rookie of the Year last season and was one of two Sharks in school history to gain multiple wins at the New England Intercollegiate Swimming & Diving Association Championships, while earning All-NEISDA status in six different events.
Simmons completed its first-ever perfect season with a 12-0 record in dual meets this year and will return to action on February 17-19 when it competes at the New England Intercollegiate Swimming & Diving Association Championship hosted by the University of Rhode Island in Kingston, R.I.