ANNAPOLIS, Md. - The Simmons College women's swimming & diving team's 400-yard medley relay squad placed eighth in the preliminaries on day one of the Eastern College Athletic Conference Championships this morning at host United States Naval Academy's Lejeune Hall in Annapolis, Md.
Junior Miriam Swisher (Albuquerque, N.M.) swam the opening freestyle leg of the 400-yard medley relay for the Sharks, followed by sophomore Natalie Giraldi's (Bedford, N.H.) breaststroke clip. Sophomore Michaela Morris (Duxbury, Mass.) swam the butterfly leg, before first year Kerry Fleming (Northampton, Mass.) closed out the race with the anchor freestyle to combine for a time of 4:02.55 to finish almost a full second ahead of Division II Le Moyne College and just 0.24 seconds behind Division I Bucknell University. The unit heads into tonight's finals as the number eight seed after coming into the prelims as the 15th seed. The Simmons relay squad was the only Division III entry in any of the morning's events to finish among the top eight.
The Sharks' 200-yard freestyle relay also exceeded expectations, turning in a time of 1:43.27 as the 19th seed to finish 12th to advance to this evening's finals. Junior Sarah Price (New York, N.Y.) opened the race for Simmons, followed by Giraldi, first year Laura Simpson (Perkiomenville, Pa.) and Fleming.
Swisher placed 19th in the 50-yard freestyle as the top Division III finisher with a mark of 24.01, just missing an alternate spot for the finals by four one-hundreths of a second behind Navy's Lauren O'Malley. Fleming finished 33rd in the 500-yard freestyle with a time of 5:13.40 in the second of three events that she competed in for the morning session. She was just five one-hundreths of a second behind University of Pittsburgh's Emily Lyons and turned in the best time of any Division III swimmer. Simpson posted a mark of 5:14.96 to place 36th in the 500-freestyle.
The Sharks return to the pool tonight at 6:00 p.m. for the finals.