One of the Naperville area’s top swimmers in recent years continues to make waves in the Ivy League. Let’s check in on the aquatic career of Waubonsie Valley grad Jared Simpson in the latest Where Are They Now? presented by Advantage Acura.
The Aurora/Naperville area has been a swimming hot bed for decades now, churning out state champions, state record holders, national champions and even Olympic Gold Medalists.
One of the top local performers in recent years was Waubonsie Valley swimmer Jared Simpson, a four year varsity starter for the Warriors.
When Simpson graduated from Waubonsie Valley in 2018, he etched his name atop the school record books in three events, the 200 medley relay, the 100 backstroke and the 200 Individual Medley. A seven time state finalist, the Warrior finished in third place in the 200 IM at the 2018 state meet as a senior. He also took 6th place in the 100 back in 2017 and 7th in 2018.
It’s clear that Jared Simpson excelled in the classroom as well as the pool, as Jared headed east to the Ivy League, joining the Harvard University swim team in the fall of 2018.
Just like his time in the green and gold, Simpson was quickly competing with the main roster for the Crimson right away as a freshman. His strength in the medley proved that he possessed a versatile skill set in the water, as Jared competes in the Individual Medley, breast stroke, back stroke and Medley Relays. During his first season, he the team’s second-fastest 200 breast (1:59.00) at the Ivy League Championships . He also finished the season with Harvard’s third-best time in the 100 back (48.87) and 200 back (1:46.48), also at the Ivy League Championships.
The following year, Jared continued to improve, especially with his breast stroke. As Harvard once again won the Ivy League Championship, Simpson did more than hold his own. He earned second team All-Ivy honors in the 200-yard breaststroke and 200-yard medley relay. He registered an NCAA B-cut time and personal-best in the 200-yard breaststroke (1:57.24) at the Ivy League Championships to finish in second place. He also tallied two more personal-bests at the league championship meet in the 100-yard breaststroke (54.47) and swam the second leg of the Crimson’s second-place finishing 200-yard medley relay squad posting a time of 24.82.
Unfortunately, the Ivy League canceled the 2020-21 swimming and diving season due to the pandemic. Despite missing a year of competition, Simpson and the Crimson picked up right where they left off this season. A nationally ranked team this winter, Harvard went undefeated in the Ivy League regular season and is the heavy favorite to take home a 5th consecutive Ivy League championship later this month.
In his junior year, Simpson has won multiple dual meets in the 100 and 200 breast stroke, and the team’s 200 medley relay group has been dominant, setting a new pool record. Another familiar name on the Crimson roster is Simpson’s former Waubonsie Valley teammate, Aayush Deshpande, who made his collegiate debut this season. It will be no surprise to see both former Warriors competing at the NCAA Championships in the years to come.
As always, it’s a joy to see former area athletes thriving at the next level, and Jared Simpson is certainly making the most of his collegiate swimming experience.
For Naperville Sports Weekly, I’m Justin Cornwell