Swimming & Diving Wins 2018 NEISDA Championship; Scholand Named Swimmer of the Meet

Swimming & Diving Wins 2018 NEISDA Championship; Scholand Named Swimmer of the Meet

KINGSTON, R.I. -- Sophomore Aine Scholand (Albuquerque, N.M.) broke her third meet and school record in as many days and was named the Swimmer of the Meet in leading the Simmons College women's swimming & diving team to its first-ever New England Intercollegiate Swimming & Diving Association Championship this evening at the Tootell Aquatics Center on the campus of host University of Rhode Island in Kingston, R.I.

The Sharks finished the four-day meet with a score of 1504 points to runner-up Roger Williams University's tally of 1465. Keene State College finished third with 1083.5 points, while Westfield State University followed with 796 and Eastern Connecticut State University finished fifth with 625.5.

Simmons won six individual events and three relays for the meet and saw 14 of its 19 student-athletes earn All-NEISDA status by virtue of a top-eight individual finish or top-four relay placing. The Sharks combined to achieve All-NEISDA status 56 times and earned 39 medals with a first, second or third place effort during the meet in addition to breaking eight school records.

Scholand shattered the 22-year old NEISDA record for the 1650-yard freestyle with a time of 16:55.51 to erase the former mark of 17:14.59 set in 1996 by Heidi George of Middlebury College. The night's winning time in the 1650 also broke the URI pool record by more than six seconds formerly set by Christine Agnew on March 12, 1989 and erased her own school standard by more than 13 seconds. Scholand finished the meet with five gold medals to go with a silver for Simmons. She is also just the second competitor in school history to win three individual gold medals during the NEISDA meet and the only competitor in school history to break three meet records.

Following the afternoon's three-meter diving final, the Sharks entered the final night's events with an eight-point lead. First year Sara Manjikian (Belmont, Mass.) scored 310.45 points to place third on the three-meter board, while challenging for second throughout the competition, and sophomore Cristina Samaniego (Avon, Conn.) racked up 258.45 points to finish fifth.

Simmons began the night with a flurry as sophomore Laura List (Bedford, Mass.) won the first NEISDA gold medal of her career with a winning time of 53.61. First year Maria Soraghan (East Hampstead, N.H.) placed second with a personal-record time of 53.89, while junior Kerry Fleming (Northampton, Mass.) finished fourth with a mark of 54.38 and first year Emily Buttafuoco (Londonderry, N.H.) gave the Sharks four in the top seven with a time of 54.82. 

Scholand followed with her historic effort and junior Laura Simpson (Perkiomenville, Pa.) placed third in the 1650-yard freestyle with a time of 18:10.62 to balloon the Simmons lead to 1237-1144. Roger Williams gained points back in the 50-yard backstroke to close to within 1237-1202. Junior Jason Erichsen (Banks, Ore.) set the school record with a time of 2:26.37 in the 200-yard breaststroke for the Sharks in a second-place finish and first year Olivia Walz (Natick, Mass.) placed fifth in the consolation final with a mark of 2:37.66 for an overall finish of 13th in the event, but Roger Williams scored enough points to edge ahead by a point at 1280-1279.

Simmons took the lead for good with three swimmers scoring in the 200-yard butterfly final. First year Anna Leedham (Lowell, Mass.), who broke her own school record in the morning's prelims, placed third in the final with a time of 2:13.82, while senior Michaela Morris (Duxbury, Mass.) finished fifth with a time of 2:17.90. Junior Kara Smith (Eastham, Mass.) followed in sixth with a time of 2:21.29. Senior Lindsay Nichols (Kennebunk, Maine) provided additional points with a second-place effort in the event's consolation final for a 10th overall finish on a personal-best time of 2:26.89. The Sharks owned a five-point lead (1372-1367) heading into the night's final two events.

Simmons all but put the meet out of reach when senior Natalie Giraldi (Bedford, N.H.) placed second in the 100-yard individual medley, topping her own school-record time at 1:01.19, before first year Elizabeth Bartlett (Richmond, Mass.) placed sixth with a personal-best mark of 1:04.61. Junior Charlotte Rivard (Norwood, Mass.) helped pad the Sharks' lead by placing third in the event's consolation final with a personal-record time of 1:05.88 to finish 11th overall.

Simmons headed into the 400-yard freestyle relay with a 31-point lead as the top seed and met expectations with a victory on a time of 3:34.38. Scholand led off the race, followed by Fleming, Soraghan and List to secure the school's first NEISDA crown.

List and Fleming each finished the meet achieving All-NEISDA status in the maximum seven events with List placing either first or second in all of them. Scholand and Giraldi were both named All-NEISDA six times, while Soraghan and Morris earned the status in five different events. Simpson and Buttafuoco earned All-Meet accolades four times and Bartlett was tabbed on three occasions. Leedham, Manjikian, Samaniego and Erichsen all nabbed All-NEISDA status twice each, while Smith earned the honor in one event.