KINGSTON, R.I. - The Simmons College swimming & diving team is in third place after the first day of competition at the New England Intercollegiate Swimming & Diving Association Championship at host University of Rhode Island's Tootell Aquatic Center in Kingston, R.I.
The Sharks finished the night with 379 points, trailing top-scoring Roger Williams University (551 points) and Keene State College (531 points). Saint Michael's College sits in fourth place with 289 points.
Junior Miriam Swisher (Albuquerque, N.M.) broke a pair of records and won the 200-yard backstroke championship to capture the gold medal in the event. Swisher won the 200-back by almost five seconds with a time of 2:03.85 to break her own school record from the morning and also reach NCAA "B" cut qualifying status. She also led off Simmons' winning 400-yard medley relay effort with a backstroke split time of 56.69 to again eclipse her own school standard that she set just hours before. She was followed by sophomore Natalie Giraldi (Bedford, N.H.), who swam the breaststroke leg, followed by classmate Michaela Morris' (Duxbury, Mass.) butterfly leg and first year Kerry Fleming's (Northampton, Mass.) freestyle anchor leg to combine on a winning mark of 3:58.43 to win the race by just over two-tenths of a second.
The Sharks dominated the 500-yard freestyle with a one-two finish from a pair of rookies. First year Laura Simpson (Perkiomenville, Pa.) won the race by breaking her own school record with a time of 5:08.77 to capture gold, while Fleming was less than two seconds behind with a mark of 5:10.37 to finish second and take the silver.
Giraldi placed second in the 50-yard breaststroke with a time of 30.86 for Simmons, while junior Jordan Mattheisen (Seattle, Wash.) finished 10th in the event with a time of 33.50. The Sharks saw three swimmers score in the 200-yard individual medley. Junior Hannah Plourde (Westfield, Mass.) clocked in at 2:20.65 to finish sixth, while classmate Julie Nguyen (Salem, Mass.) placed eighth with a clip of 2:23.63. First year Charlotte Rivard (Norwood, Mass.) finished 11th with a personal-record mark of 2:23.15.
Morris turned in a sixth-place effort in the 100-yard butterfly for Simmons, hitting the wall at 1:01.46. First year Kara Smith (Eastham, Mass.) followed with a time of 1:03.73 to place 13th in the event.
The Sharks' 200-yard freestyle relay quartet exceeded its sixth-seed by placing fourth in the race with Giraldi setting the pace as the lead leg, followed by Simpson, Mattheisen and Nguyen to post a time of 1:44.04.
Simmons returns to the pool tomorrow morning at 10:00 a.m. for the second day of preliminaries.