SOUTH KINGSTON, R.I. - First year Natalie Giraldi (Bedford, N.H.) won the 50-yard breaststroke crown to lead the Simmons College swimming & diving team to a third-place effort after the first day of the 2015 New England Intercollegiate Swimming & Diving Championships this evening at the Tootell Aquatic Center on the campus of University of Rhode Island in South Kingston, R.I.
The Sharks scored 357 points on the first day, trailing Keene State College (580.5) and Roger Williams University (519.5). There are 21 schools vying for the NEISDA Championship this weekend.
Giraldi won the 50-breaststroke by one one-hundreth of a second with a mark of 30.65. She also capped the night as part of Simmons' school-record setting 400-medley relay squad's third-place finish with a time of 3:57.36. Sophomore Miriam Swisher (Albuquerque, N.M.) swam the opening leg, followed by Giraldi, first year Michaela Morris (Duxbury, Mass.) and sophomore Shylee Stewart (Eastham, Mass.) and eclipsed their own standard from the morning's preliminaries by two and a half seconds.
The Sharks' 200-free relay unit placed second with Stewart swimming the lead leg, joined by senior Chloe Davis (Merrimack, N.H.), Giraldi and Swisher to post a time of 1:39.31.
Simmons was the only school to place a pair of swimmers in the top five of the 50-freestyle with Swisher finishing second with a mark of 24.18 and Stewart placing fifth with a time of 24.62. Senior Joleigh Ferro (Pittsfield, Mass.) turned in a personal-record time of 25.63 to place 11th in the event.
Morris touched the wall at 1:00.90 in the 100-butterfly to finish seventh as part of six top-eight finishes on the night for the Sharks.
By virtue of finishing in the top eight or in the top four among relay events, Giraldi (three times), Swisher (three times), Morris (twice), Stewart (three times) and Davis all earned All-NEISDA status for the meet.
The Simmons trio of sophomore Hannah Plourde (Westfield, Mass.), junior Rachel Chenard (Saco, Maine) and first year Lindsay Nichols (Kennebunk, Maine) all placed in the top 14 of the 200-individual medley. Plourde finished ninth with a time of 2:23.48, while Chenard touched the wall at 2:26.97 to place 11th. Nichols bettered her personal-record time with a mark of 2:28.79 to finish 14th.
Davis clocked in at 2:17.77 to finish 10th in the 200-backstroke and Mattheisen scored points in her second individual event with a 14th-place finish in the 50-breaststroke on a time of 33.97.
The Sharks return to the pool tomorrow on day two of the NEISDA preliminaries at 10:00 a.m.