By Simmons Athletics
Sophomore transfer Aine Scholand won all three races in her debut for the Simmons College women’s swimming & diving team in a 192-96 victory over visiting Westfield State University on Sunday at the Holmes Sports Center Natatorium in Boston. The Sharks improve to 1-0 in their season opener, while the Owls fall to 0-1.
Simmons won 12 of 16 events and swept the top three places in two of them.
Scholand outswam the field by nearly 30 seconds to win the 1000-yard freestyle in a time of 10:51.93 for the home team. The sophomore proved to be outstanding in the short distance as well, winning the 100-yard freestyle with a mark of 57.20 to head a 1-2-3 sweep in the event, before capping her individual day with a victory in the 500-yard freestyle on a mark of 5:20.72 to win by just under five seconds. She was also a part of the Sharks’ winning 200-yard freestyle relay squad, swimming the third leg to help the team to a time of 1:44.41 to win the event by more than six seconds. Sophomore Laura List opened the relay for Simmons, followed by junior Laura Simpson and anchored by first year Maria Soraghan
Soraghan made her collegiate debut earlier in the meet for the Sharks, leading off the 200-yard medley relay with the backstroke leg, followed by senior Natalie Giraldi’s breaststroke, senior Michaela Morris’ butterfly clip and List’s freestyle anchor to combine for a winning time of 1:54.96. Soraghan earned her first individual win just two events later with a time of 1:59.62 in the 200-yard freestyle.
Giraldi scored 22 points in the meet for Simmons, winning the 100-yard breaststroke by just three-hundreths of a second over Westfield sophomore Kelsey Johnstone with a time of 1:10.50, before winning the final individual race of the day. Giraldi’s mark of 1:06.23 was good for first in the 100-yard individual medley. Johnstone edged out Giraldi earlier in the meet with a time of 31.48 to win the 50-yard breaststroke by half a second and pull the Owls to within 51-42 after five events. It was as close as the visitors would get as the Sharks pulled away by winning 10 of the last 11 events.
Junior Monique Groux was the top overall scorer for Westfield State with a pair of wins in the diving events. She posted a score of 224.10 to take the one-meter event, before winning on the three-meter board with a mark of 200.40. First year Sara Manjikian made her collegiate debut for Simmons, competing for the first time at any level on the one-meter board. She finished second with a score of 183.70. The former gymnast placed second on the three-meter board as well with a tally of 163.95.
First year Kait Kelly tied Johnstone with 17 points with a win and two second-place efforts for the Owls. Kelly touched the wall at 29.89 to win the 50-yard backstroke. She also placed second in the 100-yard backstroke and 100-yard IM, while Johnstone was the runner-up in the 200-yard freestyle.
Morris and junior Jason Erichsen joined Soraghan with 13 points for the Sharks. Morris won the 50-yard butterfly in 28.79 with Erichsen finishing second as part of a Simmons sweep. Erichsen won the 100-yard backstroke, earlier in the meet, by just three one-hundreths of a second over Kelly with a time of 1:03.09. First year Anna Leedham captured her first collegiate win for the Sharks, taking the 100-yard butterfly, just ahead of Morris, with a time of 1:03.90.
Simmons returns to the pool on Saturday, October 28 when it hosts Elms College and Gordon College in a double-dual meet at 2:00 p.m. in the Holmes Sports Center Natatorium, while Westfield State travels to Northampton, to compete in the Smith College Relays on the same day at 10:00 a.m.