WINTHROP, Mass. – Simmons College's Miriam Swisher (Albuquerque, N.M.) was named the Great Northeast Athletic Conference Women's Swimming & Diving Athlete of the Week for the week of February 13-19, it was announced today by the league.
Swisher earns the GNAC honor for the third time this season to tie for the most of any competitor this season.
The GNAC honor has been handed out to four different Sharks this season for a total of seven times. Swisher received the accolade previously for the weeks of October 24-30 and November 28 to December 4, while classmate Hannah Plourde (Westfield, Mass.) was the GNAC's top female swimming athlete for the week of November 14-20. Sophomore Kerry Fleming (Northampton, Mass.) was the conference recipient for the weeks of January 9-15 and January 16-22 and Laura Simpson (Perkiomenville, Pa.) was named for the week of January 23-29. Simpson also garnered ECAC accolades for the week of January 23-29.
The senior enjoyed, perhaps, the greatest weekend of her storied career, earning seven gold medals at the New England Intercollegiate Swimming & Diving Association Championship at host University of Rhode Island in Kingston, R.I. from February 16-19. The La Cueva High School product won all three individual events she entered to become the only competitor in school history to win three individual races at NEISDA and helped the Sharks to four relay victories, including a pair of school records. In addition, Swisher was the recipient of the Kay Fromer Senior High Point Scoring Award. She won the 200-yard backstroke by almost two seconds with a time of 2:05.73 and added a win in the 200-yard freestyle by just under three seconds with a mark of 1:53.54. An Exercise Science major, Swisher touched the wall at 52.09 to capture the 100-yard freestyle by more than a second. She began and ended the weekend's meet with victories in relay events for Simmons. She opened the meet by swimming the anchor leg of the team's winning 800-yard freestyle relay, contributing to a time of 7:50.49 to win by more than seven seconds. Swisher contributed to a pair of relay wins the following day, setting the tone for the 200-yard freestyle relay with an opening 50-yard split of 23.91 to fuel an overall mark of 1:38.82. She followed that effort with the lead backstroke segment of the 400-yard medley relay and helped the Sharks post a school-record and winning time of 3:56.59. Swisher capped the meet by making her final appearance at NEISDA, swimming the anchor leg of the squad's winning 400-yard freestyle, hitting the wall at 3:33.10 to shatter the previous school standard by almost four seconds. In addition to her winning ways during the meet, she also recorded a school-record time of 23.65 in a time trial to achieve the NCAA 'B' cut for the 50-yard freestyle.
For the season, Swisher has been the definition of dominant, winning 23 of 24 individual races in dual meets and final heats of championship meets. She has won all 13 freestyle events she has entered, ranging from the 50 to the 1000, as well as all 10 backstroke races she has entered. Her only non-victory was a second-place effort in the 100-yard individual medley. The four-year swimmer has been a part of three school records this season, including an individual mark. In December, Swisher was the high scorer at the GNAC Championship, winning all four individual events in conference-record times in addition to helping Simmons to a pair of relay titles, while also establishing new GNAC standards in those events as well.
Swisher has made a place for herself in history as Simmons' greatest swimmer of all time being named the GNAC Swimming & Diving Athlete of the Year twice. She has racked up 110 top-three efforts, while placing first 95 times during her career in dual meets and final heats of championship meets for an 84.8 winning percentage. She currently holds six individual school records and has been a part of four school relay team standards in addition to a claim of seven pool standards. Swisher earned the Bruce Hutchinson Female Swimmer of the Meet award after winning a pair of events in school-record times at last season's New England Intercollegiate Swimming & Diving Association Championships from February 12-14, 2016 and earning All-NEISDA status in seven events, including four relay races. She claimed the 200-yard freestyle in a meet-record time of 1:52.85 to better the former mark from 1993, 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 has earned All-NEISDA status in 25 events during her career and has earned 14 GNAC Individual Championships during her tenure, while owning 11 GNAC records.
Simmons returns to competition when it sends a contingent to the Eastern College Athletic Conference Open Championship meet on March 3-5 at host United States Naval Academy in Annapolis, Md.