BOSTON, Mass. – First year Michaela Morris (Duxbury, Mass.) scored 23 points to lead the Simmons College women's swimming and diving team to a meet-high 214 points, following Day One of the 2014 Great Northeast Athletic Conference Women's Swimming & Diving Championship, while Norwich University took the lead in the GNAC Men's Invitational with 162 points today at the Holmes Sports Center Natatorium on the campus of Simmons in Boston, Mass.
Nine GNAC records fell on day one, including four men's standards in addition to a pair of pool marks and one Simmons school record. Regis College stands in second place with 101.5 points on the women's side, while Saint Joseph's College of Maine is third with 46 points, following in fourth is University of Saint Joseph of Connecticut with 32 points and Husson University with 28.5 for fifth. Norwich is sixth with 21 points and Elms College is right behind with 20.
Regis trails Norwich on the men's side with 104 points, while Elms sits third with 65. Saint Joseph's (Maine) is fourth at 60 and Husson is fifth with 47 points.
Morris' debut in the GNAC Championships was memorable with a pair of individual titles and a fourth-place finish for the Sharks. She won the 100-yard butterfly with a time of 1:02.25 and made her biggest splash of the night when she set a new GNAC and school record in the 50-butterly with a time of 27.71 to supplant the former conference mark of 27.99 held by Svetlana Loranger of Regis College in 2012 and the 16-year old program standard held by Sara Munoz.
Simmons was dominant throughout the night, winning eight of the 10 scheduled swimming events. The squad racked up 27 points in the 500-freestyle, led by junior Kevyn Lee (New York City, N.Y.) with a first place time of 5:42.38. Sophomore teammate Julie Nguyen (Salem, Mass.) was less than a second behind at 5:43.21, while senior Hillary Wong (Quincy, Mass.) placed third for the hosts with a mark of 5:46.71. Sophomore Emilie Lindholm (Sterling, Mass.) gave the Sharks the fourth spot as well with a time of 5:49.07. Simmons went 1-2-3 in the 50-freestyle, fueled by sophomore Miriam Swisher's (Albuquerque, N.M.) first place effort at 24.40 for nine of her 18 points, followed by Sharks' rookie Natalie Giraldi (Bedford, N.H.) at 25.32. Senior Joleigh Ferro (Pittsfield, Mass.) took third for Simmons with a time of 25:76. Swisher came back later to better her own GNAC record by almost a second in the 200-freestyle with a time of 1:57.57.
The Sharks began the night with a time of 1:42.64 to post a win in the 200-freestyle relay with a squad comprised of senior Chloe Davis (Merrimack, N.H.), Ferro, sophomore Sarah Price (New York, N.Y.) and Swisher. Giraldi wiped out sophomore teammate Shylee Stewart's (Eastham, Mass.) GNAC and pool record in the 100-yard breaststroke by almost two ticks of the clock with a time of 1:07.84. Giraldi capped the night as the second leg of Simmons' GNAC and pool-record breaking quartet in the 400-medley relay, joining Swisher, Morris and Davis to clock in at 4:10.25 to shatter the GNAC record by exactly seven seconds held by Swisher, Stewart, Davis and Jen Collins and the pool mark by 1.04 seconds.
Regis' first year Jessica Higgins (Peabody, Mass.) has piled up 16 points to tie for third in the meet, winning the 200-backstroke with a GNAC record-breaking time of 2:15.94 that surpassed former Norwich swimmer Aurelia Hutchinson's 2006 time by almost four seconds. She also added a second-place finish behind Swisher in the 200-freestyle with a time of 2:05.35. Senior teammate Haley Bowen (Litchfield, N.H.) also totaled 16 points for the Pride, thanks to a first and second-place finish. She won the 200-individual medley by more than four seconds with a time of 2:17.14, while finishing second in the 100-breaststroke to Giraldi with a time of 1:09.13.
Sophomore Kim Royer (Newington, Conn.) led the diving with a score of 155.80 on the one-meter board in a series of six dives, while junior Justina George (Wallingford, Conn.) registered a mark of 131.50. First year Leyan Li (Deerfield, N.H.) led the Sharks with 121.60 points to place third.
Norwich used its depth on the first day to overcome a meet-high five first-place finishes by Regis on the men's side. Sophomore Kiet Luong (Malden, Mass.) finished the day as the men's meet's leading scorer with 18 points on a pair of first place efforts for the Pride. He highlighted his night with a GNAC record time of 23.54 in the 50-butterfly to beat the two-year old mark of Keegan Goan of Elms. Luong put together a first-place finish in the 200-indvidual medley, earlier in the evening, with a time of 2:03.15. Sophomore teammate Cassidy Bastinelli (Newton, Mass.) joined the record-breaking effort by shattering the former mark in the 200-freestyle by almost five seconds with a time of 1:46.79 to move past Stephen Lynch's 2013 standard set with Elms. He also finished second in the 50-freestyle with a time of 22.42 for Regis to finish behind the GNAC-record time of 22.17 turned in by senior teammate A.J. Graf (Newton, Mass.). Sophomore Mark Walleshauser (Marietta, Ga.) led Norwich with 16 points, including the top time in the 100-butterfly at 54.68. He also finished second in the 50-butterfly at 24.60. Sophomore Nick Cirillo (Gloversville, N.Y.) tallied 16 points to lead Elms. He topped everyone in the 500-freestyle with a time of 5:09.39 and placed second in the 200-freestyle, hitting the wall at 1:53.73.
Senior Tim Smith (Bangor, Maine) dominated the one-meter diving for Husson University, scoring 250.30 points to top the field in a six-dive set. Sophomore teammate Carl Pillitteri (Belfast, Maine) placed second with 175.30 points.
The women's and men's meets will resume tomorrow at 10:00 a.m. with the preliminary round, prior to the evening's championship events at 5:00 p.m.