BOSTON, Mass. – Sophomore Miriam Swisher (Albuquerque, N.M.) won four events and broke three conference records to lead the Simmons College women's swimming & diving team to its 11th straight Great Northeast Athletic Conference Championship and 13th in the last 14 years this evening to complete the two-day competition at the Holmes Sports Center Natatorium on the campus of Simmons in Boston, Mass. The Norwich University men placed first in the GNAC Men's Invitational with a score of 315 points.
The Sharks scored 408 points to finish first, while Regis College placed second with 181.5 points. Saint Joseph's College of Maine scored 126 points, while Husson University totaled 114 points to finish fourth. Elms College registered 50 points for a fifth-place showing with University of Saint Joseph of Connecticut scoring 46 points and Norwich University placing seventh with 30 points. Simmons won 16 of 20 swimming events during the weekend, including eight of 10 this evening. 20 GNAC records were broken during the weekend, including 12 on the women's side and 10 by Simmons. Seven pool records were set and three school marks fell.
Swisher won all four individual events she entered during the weekend to remain undefeated in 16 individual events this season for the Sharks. The second-year sensation set a pair of school records this evening that were also pool and GNAC marks. She won the 100-yard freestyle with a mark of 51.75, which made the NCAA 'B' cut qualifying time and broke her own records, while winning the 50-backstroke with a time of 27.36 to erase her own school standard and supplant Brenna Melanson of Regis College's GNAC mark. Swisher also broke the GNAC record in yesterday's 200-freestyle as part of a meet-high 36 points for the weekend.
Swisher's first place finish in the 100-free led a dominant Simmons contingent with senior Joleigh Ferro (Pittsfield, Mass.) taking second with a time of 57.12 and sophomore Sarah Price (New York, N.Y.) placing third at 57.71. The Sharks also claimed fifth, sixth, seventh and eighth in the event to score 32 points in the race as a team.
First year Michaela Morris (Duxbury, Mass.) racked up 32 points with a trio of first-place efforts and a fourth place finish for Simmons. Morris won her only event of the night with a time of 2:23.99. She also joined Ferro, first year Natalie Giraldi (Bedford, N.H.) and sophomore Julie Nguyen (Salem, Mass.) to win the 200-medley relay with a conference and pool-record mark of 1:56.09. Giraldi also piled up 32 points for the meet with two top finishes and a pair of second place showings. She established a new GNAC and pool standard in the 50-breaststroke, edging sophomore teammate Shylee Stewart's (Eastham, Mass.) record with a time of 31.28 to touch out Regis senior Haley Bowen's (Litchfield, N.H.) time of 31.73. Bowen later reversed the result in the 200-breaststroke, edging Giraldi with a conference record-time of 2:29.50 to score nine of her 32 points.
Sophomore Hannah Plourde (Westfield, Mass.) finished as the meet's fifth-leading scorer with 28 points for the Sharks and won the 400-individual medley with a GNAC-record time of 4:58.34. Simmons ended the night by breaking the GNAC and pool record in the 800-free relay, thanks to a time of 8:27.77 from Nguyen, senior Hillary Wong (Quincy, Mass.), first year Emily Papp (Newtown, Conn.) and Price.
Sophomore Emilie Lindholm (Sterling, Mass.) scored a victory earlier in day two for the Sharks in the 1650-freestyle with a mark of 19:51.20 to contribute to the team's eight first-place finishes on the night.
First year Jessica Higgins (Peabody, Mass.) recorded 25 points for Regis with first place in the 100-backstroke tonight on a time of 1:03.73 and a pair of second-place efforts yesterday.
The Norwich men had three of the top four and five of the top 10 scorers for the night to contribute to its victory. Regis finished with 193 points as the runner-up, while Elms was third with 126 points. Saint Joseph's of Maine placed fourth with 114 points and Husson placed fifth with 71.
Freshman Charles McAuley (Armonk, N.Y.) and sophomore Mark Walleshauser (Marietta, Ga.) each scored 32 points to lead Norwich. McAuley won both of his events to give him three wins for the weekend. He clocked in at 29.53 in the 50-breaststroke and later won the 200-breaststroke with a time of 2:27.56. Walleshauser posted a win in the 50-backstroke on a mark of 26.68. Sophomore Stefan Koberl (Saline, Mich.) racked up 25 points in the meet, including a first-place effort in the 400-individual medley to set a GNAC mark at 4:35.48. The Cadets began the night by winning the 200-medley relay with a time of 1:42.43 thanks to sophomore Ryan Hanley (Wiscasset, Maine), McAuley, Walleshauser and freshman Chris Danieli (Chelmsford, Mass.).
Regis sophomore Kiet Luong (Malden, Mass.) led all individual male scorers with 36 points, winning all four of his events. He easily won the 200-butterfly tonight with a GNAC-record showing of 2:03.94 to break the old mark set by Stephen Lynch of Elms by just over six seconds. He also hit the wall first in the 100-backstroke with a time of 54.72 to finish a place ahead of Walleshauser's time of 57.39. Luong was also part of the Pride's GNAC-record breaking time in the 800-free relay along with freshman Nick Rainville (Reading, Mass.), senior A.J. Graf (Newton, Mass.) and sophomore Cassidy Bastinelli (Newton, Mass.) on a time of 7:20.75. Graf won an individual event as well, taking the 100-freestyle in 48.72 as part of a 1-2-3 sweep by Regis. Bastinelli was one-hundreth of a second behind at 48.73 and Rainville was almost as close at 48.97.
Elms' sophomore Nick Cirillo (Gloversville, N.Y.) was the fourth-leading scorer in the meet with 25 points and added to his total with a first place finish in the 1650-freestyle on a GNAC-record time of 17:50.48 to clip the old mark held by Norwich's Lance Webster, by almost 19 seconds.
Simmons will return to action on January 10, 2015 when it heads to Mount Holyoke College for a 1:00 p.m. meet.