WESTFIELD, Mass. -- Senior Kerry Fleming (Northampton, Mass.) scored 22 points, including a pair of first-place finishes to lead the Simmons University women's swimming & diving team to a 164-132 victory in its season opening dual meet over host Westfield State University this afternoon in Westfield, Mass. The Sharks improve to 1-0 on the season.
Simmons won nine events, while Westfield State claimed the other seven. The teams split the relay events.
Fleming won the 50-yard butterfly with a time of 29.41 and the 100-yard individual medley with a mark of 1:04.45 in addition to a second-place effort in the 50-yard backstroke for the Sharks.
The Owls opened up an early 42-32 lead following four events after Westfield State's Kait Kelly (Hampden, Mass.) hit the wall first in the 50-yard backstroke. Simmons chipped away at the deficit and took its first advantage of the meet when junior Laura List (Bedford, Mass.) won the 50-yard freestyle with a time of 26.01 to give the Sharks a 67-64 lead. The Owls regained the lead following a first-place finish in the one-meter diving event by senior Monique Groux (Agawam, Mass.), who totaled 205.75 points to win by 32-plus points and give the home team a 75-74 edge. List came through again for Simmons with a win in the 100-yard freestyle on a mark of 57.23 to put the Sharks in front for good by a tally of 88-80.
Junior Kelsey Johnstone (Southwick, Mass.) posted a winning time of 1:09.86 in the 100-yard breaststroke for Westfield State to help the squad cut its deficit to 106-100, but it was as close as the Owls would get as Simmons outscored its hosts, 58-32, to close out the meet.
Senior Laura Simpson (Perkiomenville, Pa.) also earned a pair of first-place finishes for the Sharks, winning the 200-yard freestyle by just under four seconds with a time of 2:05.44 and the 500-yard freestyle by just over six seconds with a mark of 5:42.50. Junior Aine Scholand (Albuquerque, N.M.) dominated the 1000-yard freestyle for Simmons with a time of 11:05.15 to outdistance the nearest finisher by just under 51 seconds, whle senior Jason Erichsen (Banks, Ore.) clocked in at 33.71 to claim first in the 50-yard breaststroke. The Sharks closed out the meet with a win in the 200-yard freestyle relay with Scholand leading off, followed by List and sophomores Annie Lam (Natick, Mass.) and Olivia Walz (Natick, Mass.).
Kelly swept the backstroke events to lead the Owls, adding a time of 1:03.20 to win the 100-yard event. Groux won both diving events for Westfield State, scoring 185.45 points to win on the three-meter board by just over seven points to clip Simmons junior Cristina Samaniego (Avon, Mass.), who finished second with a total of 178.35. Shannon Fitzsimmons contributed with a first-place showing for the Owls, out-touching Sharks sophomore Anna Leedham (Lowell, Mass.) by just 12 one-hundreths of a second with a time of 1:05.03 in the 100-yard butterfly. Kelly (backstroke), Johnstone (breastroke), Fitzsimmons (butterfly) and first year Amber Sterns (freestyle) combined to open the meet with a win in the 200-yard medley relay for Westfield State.
Simmons returns to the pool on Saturday, October 27 when it hosts Elms College and Gordon College in a double-dual meet at the Holmes Sports Center Natatorium at 2:00 p.m. The Owls will be in action again on the same day when they head to Northampton, Mass. to compete in the Smith College Relays at 12:00 p.m.