DANBURY, Conn./WINTHROP, Mass. – Simmons College's Natalie Giraldi (Bedford, N.H.) was named the Women's Swimming & Diving Rookie of the Week by both the Eastern College Athletic Conference New England and Great Northeast Athletic Conference for the week of February 9-15, it was announced.
Giraldi has earned the ECAC honor twice, while being tabbed by the GNAC a conference-high five times.
The award marks the ninth straight reporting period that the Sharks have earned the honor from the GNAC. 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 first year Michaela Morris (Duxbury, Mass.) was tabbed for the weeks of December 1-7, January 5-11, January 12-18 and January 26 to February 1. First year diver Leyan Li (Deerfield, N.H.) was chosen for the award for January 19-15. Giraldi's ECAC accolade marks the third time a Simmons rookie has been named. She was the Co-Rookie with Morris for the week of December 1-7 and Morris earned the award by herself for the week of January 5-11.
Giraldi was outstanding on the biggest stage of her collegiate career, winning the 50-yard breaststroke crown with a time of 30.65 at the 2015 New England Intercollegiate Swimming & Diving Championships on February 13-14. The rookie had set a school record in the event in the preliminaries with a mark of 30.63 earlier in the day. A graduate of Bedford High School, she also placed third in the 100-breaststroke with a personal-best time of 1:07.16. Giraldi also helped the Sharks break a pair of relay records, swimming the breaststroke leg in both the 200 and 400-medley relays. Simmons clocked in at 1:48.73 in the 200, while turning in a time of 3:57.36 in the 400 to record third-place showings in each race. She also swam the second leg of the 200-freestyle relay, helping the Sharks secure a second-place finish with a mark of 1:39.31.
Giraldi has been outstanding in her first collegiate year of swimming, winning 17 of 30 races that she's entered, including 13 of 21 breaststroke events. The Physical Therapy major first opened eyes when she racked up 32 points to tie for the second-most at the GNAC Swimming & Diving Championships on December 6-7. She boasted two first place finishes and a pair of second place efforts. The first year set a pair of conference and pool records with her two wins, posting a time of 31.28 in the 50-yard breaststroke and a mark of 1:07.84 in the 100-breaststroke. The first year finished second in the 200-breaststroke with a school-record time of 2:33.51 and was also second in the 50-freestyle at 25.32.
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 won their 11th straight GNAC Championship earlier in the season and will return to action on Friday, February 27 when they travel to Pittsburgh, Pa. to vie for the Eastern College Athletic Conference Swimming and Diving Championship, hosted by University of Pittsburgh.