WINTHROP, Mass. – Simmons College swimmer Michaela Morris (Duxbury, Mass.) was named the Great Northeast Athletic Conference Women's Swimming & Diving Rookie of the Week for the week of January 26-February 1, it was announced today by the league. Morris ties classmate Natalie Giraldi (Bedford, Mass.) for the most occasions an athlete has been named the Rookie of the Week this season by the GNAC in swimming & diving.
The award marks the eighth straight reporting period that the Sharks have earned the honor. Giraldi earned the GNAC accolade for the weeks of October 27 to November 2, November 3-9, November 10-16 and December 1-7, while Morris was tabbed for the weeks of December 1-7, January 5-11 and January 12-18. First year diver Leyan Li (Deerfield, N.H.) was chosen for the award last week.
Morris is named the top rookie following a week that saw Simmons thrust into a unique circumstance. The Sharks were scheduled to compete against visiting Plymouth State University on January 31, but due to a transportation issue, the Panthers were unable to travel to the contest. As a result, Simmons took advantage of the officials in attendance to conduct time trials, where all times would be considered official and serve as regional and national qualifying marks, if standards were met. Morris posted the best time in a pair of events for the Sharks, including a record-setting mark. The first year set a new school standard in the 100-yard butterfly with a time of 1:00.72. The mark was also good enough to supplant the Holmes Sports Center Natatorium record that stood unbroken for 17 years. A graduate of Duxbury High School, Morris also hit the wall first in the 100-backstroke with a time of 1:06.76.
The rookie continues to have an outstanding first season for Simmons and has been stellar in the butterfly, winning 14 of 20 events she has entered this season, including four wins in the 50, six in the 100 and four in the 200. The highlight of her season came during the GNAC Championships on December 6-7, where she won the 100-yard butterfly (1:02.25) and the 200-butterfly (2:23.99) and broke a conference and 16-year-old school record in the 50-butterfly with a time of 27.71. Morris was also a part of the Sharks' winning 400-medley and 200-medley relay squads with times of 4:10.25 and 1:56.09, respectively to set new GNAC records.
The Sharks closed out their dual-meet results this season by winning five straight for a 10-2 record to tie the school standard for victories in a campaign. They return to action on Friday, February 13 when they travel to Kingston, R.I. to vie for the New England Intercollegiate Swimming and Diving Association Championship, hosted by University of Rhode Island.