WINTHROP, Mass. – Simmons College's Shylee Stewart (Eastham, Mass.) was named the Great Northeast Athletic Conference Women's Swimming & Diving Athlete of the Week for the week of February 16-22, it was announced today by the league.
The award marks the 11th straight reporting period that the Sharks have earned the award. Stewart has been named three times, including the weeks of January 5-11 and January 19-25, while sophomore Miriam Swisher (Albuquerque, N.M.)has been chosen seven times by the league for the weeks of October 27 to November 2, November 3-9, November 10-16, December 1-7, January 12-18, January 26 to February 1 and February 9-15. Senior Hillary Wong (Quincy, Mass.) was named for the week of October 20-26 to open the season.
Stewart turned in a pair of personal-best times and also anchored the Simmons school and pool-record breaking 400-yard freestyle relay team on February 21 during the New England Intercollegiate Swimming & Diving Association Time Trials held at the Holmes Sports Center Natatorium on the campus of Simmons in Boston, Mass. The third day of competition of the 2015 NEISDA Championships was canceled due to heavy snowfall on February 15 in Kingston, R.I. at the University of Rhode Island, so those events were held during the trials as well as additional time trial events. The trials included 10 schools, including eight of the top 10 team finishers from the Championship weekend.
The sophomore posted a career-best mark in the 100-freestyle with a time of 52.98, while hitting the wall in the 200-freestyle with a personal-record time of 1:56.44. The Nauset Regional High School product swam the closing leg of the 400-freestyle relay that was led by Swisher, followed by senior Chloe Davis (Merrimack, N.H.) and first year Natalie Giraldi (Bedford, N.H.) to put together a new school and pool standard of 3:38.30 to shatter the previous mark by almost six seconds. Both of her individual times qualified her to compete at the Eastern College Athletic Conference Championships on February 27.
Stewart was sidelined for more than two months of competition this season with an injury, before returning to the pool on January 10 at Mount Holyoke College. For the season, the second-year swimmer has won 12 of 18 individual events that she's scored in, including seven different events. She's won all four of her entries in the 100-freestyle and has also placed first in the 50-free, 50-backstroke, 50-breaststroke, 100-breaststroke, 50-butterfly and 100-individual medley events. In addition to the 100 and 200-freestyle, Stewart will also compete in the 100-breaststroke, the 200 and 400-freestyle relays as well as the 200 and 400-medley relays for Simmons at the ECAC Championships.
A Nursing major, Stewart burst onto the collegiate scene last year, earning GNAC Rookie of the Year honors after winning the 100-breaststroke at the 2014 NEISDA Championships with a school-record time of 1:06.70. She turned in three top-four finishes at the NEISDA Championships, placing third in the 100-free with a time of 53.39 and fourth in the 50-free with a mark of 24.37 and was part of Simmons' 800-freestyle relay squad that took first place in a school-record time of 7:59.69. She's also had a hand in four other school relay standards, helping the Sharks set the mark in the 200-free relay (1:38.97), the 400-free relay, the 200-medley relay (1:48.73) and the 400-medley relay (3:57.36). She's won 33 of 50 races she's entered during her career, including the 50 and 100-breaststroke at the GNAC Championships in 2013.
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 finished third for the second straight year at the NEISDA Championships. Simmons will return to action on Friday, February 27 when it sends six swimmers to Pittsburgh, Pa. to compete in five individual races and four relay events at the Eastern College Athletic Conference Championships hosted by University of Pittsburgh.