SwimDive Wins Five Events; Remains in Second at NEISDA Championship

Simmons University diver Sara Manjikian Class of 2021

KINGSTON, R.I. -- The Simmons University women's swimming & diving team won five events, including four individual events on the third day of the 2020 New England Intercollegiate Swimming & Diving Association Championship at the Tootell Aquatics Center on the campus of host University of Rhode Island in Kingston, R.I. and remains in second place as a team.

The Sharks have 941 points and slightly closed the gap with first place Roger Williams University, which has 1056 points after three days of competition. Keene State College remains in third place with 790 points.

Simmons most impressive and explosive showing of the night came in the 200-yard freestyle, where it took the top three spots with a 1-2-3 finish. Junior Olivia Walz (Natick, Mass.) turned in a career effort to win her first lifetime gold medal at the NEISDA Championship, clocking in at 1:58.66 to edge senior teammate Laura List (Bedford, Mass.) by 24 one-hundreths of a second. Sophomore Lauren Howard (Abington, Mass.) touched the wall at 1:59.56 to place third for the Sharks.

Senior Áine Scholand (Albuquerque, N.M.) put the first points of the day on the board for Simmons after handily winning the 1000-yard freestyle by more than 48 seconds with a time of 10:15.75 in the afternoon timed final. First year Eva Piernas (Hopkinton, N.H.) finished fifth in the race for the Sharks with a time of 11:23.94.

Simmons picked up more points prior to the evening finals with three of its divers placing among the top seven on the one-meter board. Junior Sara Manjikian (Belmont, Mass.) led the trio by becoming the first diver in school history to win a gold medal in the one-meter event at NEISDA. She tallied 353.75 points. Sophomore Natalie Krieg (Cambridge, Mass.) placed sixth with a score of 314.25, while senior Cristina Samaniego (Avon, Conn.) racked up 304.00 points to place seventh. 

Sophomore Sarah Singleton (Mission Hills, Calif.) dominated the 400-yard individual medley by more than six seconds for the Sharks with a time of 4:39.80 in the night's first individual event. Junior Anna Leedham (Lowell, Mass.) finished fifth with a time of 4:52.76 and senior Alex Berg-Pappert (Geneva, N.Y.) competed in the consolation final, earning 16th place overall with a time of 5:19.66.

Simmons closed out the night by edging Roger Williams by just six one-hundreths of a second for a win in the 200-yard freestyle relay behind Walz, Howard, Scholand and List's combined time of 1:39.26. The win was a reversal of the evening's opening relay that saw Roger Williams win the 200-yard medley relay with a time of 1:49.67 over second-place Simmons. List swam the opening backstroke, followed by first year Meg Driscoll's (Haverhill, Mass.) breaststroke, Singleton's butterfly and Howard's anchor freestyle as part of a time of 1:51.91.

First year Meg Driscoll (Haverhill, Mass.) posted a time of 1:09.45 to place fifth in the 100-yard breaststroke final for the Sharks, while classmate Katelyn Quinlan (Haverhill, Mass.) competed in the consolation final of the event, recording a time of 1:12.77 to place 14th overall. Sophomore Savana Silva (Groveland, Mass.) placed 12th in the 50-yard butterfly with a time of 28.74.

Simmons returns to action tomorrow at 10:00 a.m. for the preliminaries of the final day of the meet.