WINTHROP, Mass. – Simmons College women's swimmer Miriam Swisher (Albuquerque, N.M.) has been named the Great Northeast Athletic Conference Women's Swimming & Diving Athlete of the Week for the week of February 22-28, it was announced by the league today.
The award marks the ninth time that a Shark has been named this season for the GNAC. Four different competitors from Simmons have been tabbed this year. Swisher has earned the award a season-high five times, previously being named for the weeks of November 9-15, November 16-22, February 8-14 and last week.
Sophomore Natalie Giraldi (Bedford, N.H.) was selected the GNAC's top weekly athlete for the weeks of October 19-25 and November 2-8, while junior diver Alison Gauvin (Whitefield, Maine) garnered the honor for the week of January 4-10 and junior Sarah Price (New York, N.Y.) captured the top accolade for the week of January 18-24.
Swisher was the top Division III finisher in all three individual events that she swam in at the 2016 Eastern College Athletic Conference Swimming & Diving Championships hosted by United States Naval Academy in Annapolis, Md. from February 26-28. The Sharks finished 13th and was the top Division III scorer for the second straight year at the meet, featuring Division I, II and III squads.
The junior swam in the maximum seven events for the Sharks, including four relay races. Swisher placed 19th, just one spot from qualifying for the championship finals as an alternate, in all three of her individual events. She posted times of 24.01 in the 50-yard freestyle, 1:53.69 in the 200-yard freestyle and 2:08.08 in the 200-yard backstroke as the top Division III finisher in all three races. Swisher broke the school record in the 50-yard backstroke with an opening split of 26.95 in the 200-yard medley relay to help the Sharks to an 11th-place showing with a time of 1:50.6 and opened the 400-yard medley relay, setting the tone for the team's seventh place showing with a mark of 4:00.99. Swisher was the anchor on both the 800 and 400-yard freestyle relays as well, helping Simmons place ninth in the 800 with a time of 7:52.61 and 10th in the 400 with a mark of 3:37.77, which was three one hundreths of a second off the school record.
The La Cueva High School product has set five individual school records and helped Simmons break one relay mark this season, while posting 26 top-three finishes, including 24 first-place efforts. She has not lost a freestyle race in the 50 or 100-yard events in dual meets, going a combined 9-0, while winning all five 50-yard backstroke races and all three 200-yard backstroke events that she's entered. The junior won a pair of events in school-record times at the New England Intercollegiate Swimming & Diving Championships from February 12-14, taking the 200-yard freestyle in a meet-record time of 1:52.85, while capturing the title in the 200-yard backstroke with a time of 2:03.85 to become the first competitor in school history to win multiple events at NEISDA. She also placed second in the 100-yard freestyle at the meet with a mark of 51.90. Swisher earned All-Conference status earlier in the season when she won the 100-yard freestyle and 50-yard backstroke at the GNAC Championship in December and helped Simmons break a pair of GNAC relay records with a time of 1:51.58 in the 200-yard medley relay and a clip of 3:45.59 to eclipse the former standard in the 400-yard freestyle relay, despite fighting illness. Swisher also placed fourth at the New England Invitational with a time of 1:59.34 in the 200-yard freestyle on November 7.
An Exercise Science major, Swisher has racked up 88 top-three efforts, while placing first 80 times during her career. The junior has been named the GNAC Athlete of the Week 16 times for her time at Simmons and was chosen as the GNAC Swimming & Diving Athlete of the Year last season. She currently holds six individual school records and has been a part of five school relay team standards. She has earned All-NEISDA status in 18 events during her career and has earned 10 GNAC Individual Championships during her three-year tenure.
The Sharks posted one of the best seasons in program history, owning a 10-2 record in dual meets this year to match a school-record, while winning its 12th straight Great Northeast Athletic Conference Championship in December. Simmons has also seen 11 school records fall this season. The Sharks finished third at the NEISDA Championships for the third consecutive year as well.