Simpson named GNAC women’s swimming & diving rookie of week for 5th time

By Simmons Athletics

Laura Simpson, Rookie of the Week publicity shot

Photo: Simmons College Athletics

Simmons College women’s swimmer Laura Simpson (Perkiomenville, Pa.) was named the Great Northeast Athletic Conference Women’s Swimming & Diving Rookie of the Week for Feb. 8-14, it was announced today by the conference.

The Sharks have earned the GNAC award in all 10 of the reporting periods. Simpson has earned the honor conference-high five times, including the weeks of Oct. 26 to Nov. 1, Nov. 2-8 and Nov. 9-15 and last week. She has also been named the Eastern College Athletic Conference’s top rookie twice, including for the week of Nov. 30 to Dec. 6 and last week.

Classmate Kerry Fleming (Northampton, Mass.) has captured the GNAC distinction four times, while rookie Charlotte Rivard (Norwood, Mass.) was selected for the week of Jan. 4-10 by the GNAC.

Simpson was outstanding at the 2016 New England Intercollegiate Swimming & Diving Association Championships, becoming just one of two Simmons competitors in school history to earn multiple wins at the meet. The first year also set three school records and earned All-NEISDA status in six different events by virtue of finishing among the top eight in three individual events and the top four in three relay races. Simmons finished third as a team in the championship meet for the third straight year. Simpson began her individual success by winning the 500-yard freestyle with a school-record time of 5:08.77. The next day, the rookie erased the school mark in the 1000-yard freestyle by more than 10 seconds to win her second crown. Simpson closed out the meet by finishing second in the 1650-yard freestyle and eclipsed the school standard by more than 11 seconds with a time of 17:46.95. She swam the third leg of the 800-yard freestyle relay team that took the gold medal with a school-record mark of 7:50.17. Simpson also helped the 400-yard freestyle relay squad finish third with a time of 3:39.74 in addition to helping the 200-yard freestyle relay squad to a fourth-place showing with a mark of 1:44.04.

A graduate of Boyertown High School, Simpson has absolutely dominated the freestyle events from 200 to 1650 yards in her rookie season, winning 17 of 22 races that she’s entered, including all five 200-yard races in dual meet competition. Simpson racked up a meet-high 76 points, while capturing titles in the 200, 500, and 1650-yard freestyle events at the GNAC Championship in December. She shattered the GNAC record in the 1650 with a time of 17:58.42 and also surged past the conference mark in the 500 with a clip of 5:11.84. She first opened eyes during her rookie campaign when she placed second in the 500-yard freestyle at the New England Invitational on Nov. 7. Overall, she’s turned in 29 top-three finishes, including 20 first place showings.

The Sharks are enjoying one of the best seasons in program history, owning a 10-2 record in dual meets this year to match a school record, while winning its 12th straight Great Northeast Athletic Conference Championship in December. Simmons has also seen 10 school records fall this season. The Sharks return to the pool on Feb. 26-28 when they travel to Annapolis, Md. to compete in the Eastern College Athletic Conference Championships hosted by the United States Naval Academy.

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