Simpson Leads Swimming & Diving to 140.5-138.5 Win at Wellesley

WELLESLEY, Mass. - Sophomore Laura Simpson (Perkiomenville, Pa.) scored 19.5 points to lead the Simmons College women's swimming & diving team to a 140.5-138.5 victory over host Wellesley College this afternoon in a dual meet at Chandler Pool in Wellesley, Mass. The Sharks are now a perfect 4-0 on the season, while the Blue are 0-3.

WELLESLEY, Mass. - Sophomore Laura Simpson (Perkiomenville, Pa.) scored 19.5 points to lead the Simmons College women's swimming & diving team to a 140.5-138.5 victory over host Wellesley College this afternoon in a dual meet at Chandler Pool in Wellesley, Mass. The Sharks are now a perfect 4-0 on the season, while the Blue are 0-3.

The Sharks won nine events, while the Blue came away with seven in a meet that went back and forth throughout the afternoon.

Simpson scored a pair of victories as part of her 19.5-point effort for Simmons, while first year diver Cristina Samaniego (Avon, Conn.) won both events she entered to score 18 points. Senior Miriam Swisher (Albuquerque, N.M.) also won a pair of events for an 18-point showing, while sophomore Kerry Fleming (Northampton, Mass.) earned a first place effort as part of a 15-point day and junior Natalie Giraldi (Bedford, N.H.) scored 12 points, including a first-place race.

Sophomore Karen Wang (Holmdel, N.J.) led all competitors with 27 points on a trio of first-place finishes for the Blue, while sophomore Cathy Chen (Parsippany, N.J.) scored 20 points, including two first-place efforts. Junior Lindsey Wu (Livingston, N.J.) tallied 15 points, fueled by a first-place showing as well.

The hosts opened the afternoon with a victory in the 400-yard medley relay, with sophomores Crystal Zhu (Chelmsford, Mass.), Francesca Dong (Princeton Junction, N.J.), Jessie Feng (Princeton, N.J.) and first year Danielle Peterson (Livingston, N.J.) taking the top time in 4:10.26 ahead of the Simmons 'A' relay squad of Swisher, Giraldi, junior Michaela Morris (Duxbury, Mass.) and Fleming's time of 4:11.42. Wellesley also took third in the relay to take a 13-4 lead. 

Simmons countered with victories in the 1000-yard freestyle and the 200-yard freestyle, thanks to the efforts of Simpson and Swisher, respectively. Simpson outdistanced the field by nearly 56 seconds in the 1000-free, finishing in 11:28.30 ahead of Blue first year Veronica Pawlik's (Teaneck, N.J.) time of 12:24.27. Swisher took the 200-free in 2:03.56 to lead a 1-2-3 Simmons sweep of the event along with Sarah Price (New York, N.Y.) and Julie Nguyen (Salem, Mass.) to give the Sharks a 32-22 lead.

Wellesley took victories in three of the next four events, beginning with a victory from Chen in the 100-yard backstroke with a mark of 1:01.57 to help the home team narrow the gap to 38-35 following the event. Simmons earned another win in the 100-yard breaststroke as Giraldi edged out Peterson (1:11.57) with a time of 1:10.54 and the Sharks owned a 49-43 lead. Following Giraldi's win, the Blue posted a 1-2-3 finish in the 200-yard butterfly with Wang leading the charge, finishing in 2:16.62, followed by Feng and first year Maggie Haley (Shady Side, Md.) in second and third, respectively, to take a 59-52 lead after six events. Chen won the 50-yard freestyle for Wellesley with a time of 25.65 to out-touch Fleming (26.16) by a half second. Zhu and Simpson tied for fourth in the race to split the three points.

Going into the diving, the Blue owned a 69.5-60.5 lead, but Samaniego earned nine of her 18 points on the afternoon with a win on the one-meter board following a score of 144.65 to pull Simmons even at 69.5-69.5 at the meet's mid-point. 

The Sharks earned back-to-back victories in the 100-yard freestyle and 200-yard backstroke to take their largest lead of the afternoon at 94.5-82.5. Fleming finished ahead of Dong (58.29) in the 100-free with a time of 55.92 and Swisher touched the wall ahead of sophomore Sunny Chiang (Troy, Mich.) (2:16.83) in the 200-back in 2:13.84.

Wellesley countered with a win in the 200-yard breaststroke with a one-two finish by Wu and Peterson, respectively. The teammates were just over a second apart, as Wu took the win in 2:36.65 and Peterson was just behind in 2:37.04 to help the Blue close to within 99.5-96.5 after 11 events.

Simmons responded with a 500-yard freestyle victory from Simpson, who touched the wall at 5:32.05 to defeat Blue first year Kayleigh Svensson (Palo Alto, Calif.) (5:44.34) by more than 12 seconds. The Sharks held a 112.5-102.5 cushion, but Wellesley earned a 1-2-3 finish in the 100-yard butterfly as part of a 16-point tally in the event. Wang (1:01.59), Feng (1:02.59) and Haley (1:04.81) took the top three spots for Wellesley as it took a 118.5-115.5 lead. Samaniego came through again for Simmons, placing first on the three-meter board with a score of 139.50 to reclaim the lead for the visitors at 124.5-118.5, but another 1-2-3 showing gave the Blue a 134.5-127.5 margin for the meet's sixth lead change, heading into the final event of the day. Wang (2:16.92), Chiang (2:18.23) and Wu (2:20.04) all finished ahead of all the Sharks in the 200-yard individual medley.

Simmons closed out the day with two of the top three times in the 400-yard freestyle relay to earn the win. First year Laura List (Bedford, Mass.), Simpson, Price and Swisher won the event in 3:44.51 to nip the Blue's quartet of Chiang, Peterson, Wang and Chen at 3:46.95. The Sharks 'B' relay of Giraldi, sophomores Jason Erichsen (Banks, Ore.), Kara Smith (Eastham, Mass.) and Morris earned the final two points of the day in third place with a time of 4:01.01 to finish more than two seconds ahead of Wellesley's 'B' squad and give Simmons the tie.

The Sharks return to action on Tuesday, November 15 when they host Babson College at the Holmes Sports Center Natatorium at 6:00 p.m., while the Blue return to Chandler Pool next Saturday, November 19, when they host Seven Sisters rival Mount Holyoke College at 1:00 p.m.