LOS ANGELES — Swimming in just her second meet this season after spending the first semester studying abroad in Costa Rica, Lauren Ransom (Albuquerque, NM) picked up three wins, while teammates Caroline Chang (Lisle, Ill.) and Mallory Ryan (San Mateo) each went a perfect 4 for 4, leading the Occidental College women's swimming and diving team to a 149-111 non conference win over Lewis and Clark College in a swim-only meet on Monday.
Ransom, a junior biology major who was contributing to a dental health research project in Central America, anchored the winning 200 medley relay that posted the fourth fastest time in school history (1 minute, 53.78 seconds), led off the winning 200 yard freestyle relay (1:48.22) and finished first in the 50 yard freestyle (25.23) for the second meet in a row (25.23 seconds) — Ranson won the 50 free against in a meet against the University of La Verne on Saturday (25.62).
Chang won the 100 yard backstroke (1:04.09), the 50 breaststroke (31.23), the 100 individual medley (1:02.69) and swam backstroke for the 200 medley relay. Ryan was first in the 50 butterfly (27.76), the 1000 free (11:02.72), the 100 free (56.61), and swam fly on the 200 medley relay.
The success Chang and Ryan enjoyed on Monday has become almost expected, they're two of the best swimmers on the Oxy team, but the surge from Ransom is a pleasant surprise for the Tigers especially considering she swam less than a handful of times while out of the country since August 2011.
"There weren't many pools that I had access to so I didn't swim much the entire semester. Once in the ocean and once in a hotel pool I swam a few laps," Ransom said. "I'm lucky that I'm a sprinter so I think it's easier for me to get into it. My races don't feel as rusty as training does."
She's catching up quick though and is glad to be back and to have had the opportunity to make a real impact in the field she's studying rather than just reading about it in text books.
"I think that's one of the best part of going to a Division III school," Ransom said. "We still have the same restrictions. A Division I is practicing 20 hours a week and we're practicing 20 hours a week. But Because I'm not being paid to stay in the water I still have opportunities to study abroad and work or anything else I'd want to do as part of my college experience."
Once she graduates Oxy in a little over a year, Ransom may be headed for medical school, but now that she's back in a bathing suit, she figures to be a key component of Oxy's team as dual meets pick up and with SCIAC meets just around the corner.
"She's a talented athlete and obviously we saw that her longer events are going to take a little while longer to get back," Occidental coach Shea Manning said. "If there's anything that she's displayed it's that she's ready to swim fast, her strength is up and fast twitch muscle are there. She's put up some really impressive 50 swims which is great as we starting looking towards the last five weeks of the season and Sciacca's."
The meet was tied at 37 after eight events, then Chang and Emily Watkins (Palo Alto) went finished first and second in the 50 yard breast, giving Oxy a 50-43 lead they held extended gradually throughout the afternoon.
Later Watkins won the 100 breast (1:09.97) for Oxy.
Juliet Suess (St. Charles, Ill.) missed her second consecutive meet with an illness. The defending SCIAC 200 yard freestyle champion hopes to back in the pool when the Tigers take on Whittier College on Saturday at 11 a.m. in a dual meet at Taylor Pool. Diving will be Friday at 2 p.m. at the Rose Bowl.
Oxy's currently tied for first with Claremont-Mudd-Scripps in the Southern California Intercollegiate Athletic Conference point standings.