KINGSTON, R.I. - Senior Miriam Swisher (Albuquerque, N.M.) won her third individual event of the meet and finished as the highest point scorer to lead the Simmons College women's swimming & diving team to a second place finish at the New England Intercollegiate Swimming & Diving Association Championship this evening at the Tootell Aquatic Center on the campus of University of Rhode Island in Kingston, R.I.
The Sharks compiled 1259 points to finish second, out of 21 teams, behind NEISDA Champion Roger Williams University's total of 1452. Keene State College placed third with 1118 and Brandeis University was fourth with 785 points.
The finish was the highest in school history for Simmons after placing third for the last three years in the meet.
Swisher was the recipient of the Kay Fromer Senior High Point Scorer Award for the meet and finished the weekend with seven gold medals. The senior capped the final New England Championship meet of her career in style by starting the night with a gold medal in the 100-yard freestyle on a time of 52.09 seconds and ending the evening as the anchor leg of the Sharks' winning 400-yard freestyle relay squad. First year Laura List (Beford, Mass.) led off the event, followed by sophomores Laura Simpson (Perkiomenville, Pa.) and Kerry Fleming (Northampton, Mass.) before Swisher closed it out to post a school-record time of 3:33.10 to shatter the former mark set in the morning's preliminaries by almost four seconds.
Swisher becomes the first competitor in school history to win three individual events in the meet, finishing first in the 200-yard backstroke, 200-yard freestyle and the 100-yard freestyle, in addition to helping the Sharks win four relay events with wins in the 800-yard freestyle, 200-yard freestyle, 400-yard medley and the 400-yard freestyle relay. She helped Simmons set new school standards in the 400-medley and 400-freestyle relays as well. The senior also broke her own mark in the 50-yard freestyle with an effort of 23.65 in a time trial, which was also good for the NCAA 'B' cut.
Junior Natalie Giraldi (Bedford, N.H.) did some record breaking of her own, trimming the former 100-yard individual medley standard, that she set in the morning, by just over six-tenths of a second with a time of 1:01.54 to finish second in the event. The second-place showing gave her six medals for the meet, including four golds. Fleming also medaled six times for Simmons.
The Sharks boasted 10 competitors achieving All-NEISDA status in 20 different events by virtue of a top-eight individual finish or a top-four placing in the relay events. The team also combined to take home 34 medals for a top-three effort and broke eight school records during the meet.
Simpson won a silver medal for Simmons, clocking in at 17:56.61 to place second in the 1650-yard freestyle and give her four medals for the weekend. List made it three silvers on the night for the Sharks, finishing behind Swisher in the 100-yard freestyle with a time of 53.37 and finished the meet with five medals.
Senior Hannah Plourde (Westfield, Mass.) finished sixth in the 200-yard breaststroke with a time of 2:34.24 in the final NEISDA event of her career and attained All-NEISDA in three events, while junior Michaela Morris (Duxbury, Mass.) placed eighth in the 200-yard butterfly with a mark of 2:19.69 to achieve All-NEISDA status in five events, including four medal-efforts.
The Sharks received stellar efforts in the consolation finals as well with seniors Sarah Price (New York, N.Y.) and Julie Nguyen (Salem, Mass.) making their last NEISDA races count, finishing first in their respective events to place ninth overall. Sophomore Kara Smith (Eastham, Mass.) followed the trend, placing first in her consolation final as well. Price, who medaled in a pair of relay events during the weekend, posted a time of 56.16 in the 100-yard freestyle, while Nguyen clocked in at 1:04.94 in the 100-yard IM and Smith touched the wall at 2:21.78 in the 200-yard butterfly to finish ninth overall. Senior Emmie Lindholm (Sterling, Mass.) concluded her career by placing 10th in the 1650-yard freestyle with a time of 19:24.99 and sophomore Jason Erichsen (Banks, Ore.) placed 15th overall with a mark of 2:41.87.