BOSTON, Mass. -- For the fourth consecutive year, the Simmons College women's swimming & diving team will compete at the Eastern College Athletic Conference Swimming & Diving Open Championship, hosted by Rutgers University in New Brunswick, N.J. at the Rutgers Aquatics Center from February 23-25.
The Sharks are coming off winning their first-ever New England Intercollegiate Swimming & Diving Association Championship last weekend at host University of Rhode Island. Simmons will compete at ECAC's against squads from NCAA Division I, II and III institutions and have posted the highest finish among Division III schools in each of the last three years and placed eighth as a team in last year's Open Championship for its best showing in school history. The Sharks have 12 competitors, who have qualified for the meet, the highest contingent in program history.
Simmons is led by sophomore Aine Scholand (Albuquerque, N.M.), who owns the highest seed among the Sharks heading into the championship meet with the 10th-fastest mark in the 500-yard freestyle. Scholand broke the school and New England Intercollegite Swimming & Diving Association Championship meet record with her 500 time last weekend, which also stands as the 16th-fastest mark in NCAA Division III this season. Scholand is seeded in the 200 (42nd) and 100-yard (66th) freestyle events as well.
Senior Natalie Giraldi (Bedford, N.H.) will look to make her mark in the 100-yard breaststroke as the 27th seed with a time of 1:06.13, which is just behind her school-record standard of 1:05.83 set at last year's ECAC Championship. Giraldi is also seeded in the 50-yard freestyle at 68th. Junior Jason Erichsen (Banks, Ore.) is a strong seed in the 200-yard breaststroke with a school-record mark of 2:26.37 to capture the 28th spot. Erichsen joins Giraldi in the 100-yard breaststroke as the 49th seed. First year Anna Leedham (Lowell, Mass.) brings her school-record time of 2:13.39 into the 200-yard butterfly to seed her 29th in addition to a 72nd seeding in the 100-yard butterfly. Sophomore Laura List (Bedford, Mass.) is one of five Simmons swimmers to have qualified for three or more events and will compete as the 32nd seed in the 50-yard freestyle on a time of 24.15. She will also swim in the 100-yard backstroke (47th seed) and the 100-yard freestyle (55th seed).
Junior Kerry Fleming (Northampton, Mass.) qualified for a team-high four individual events, highlighted by a 42nd seed in the 200-yard backstroke. She is also seeded in the 100-yard backstroke (53rd), the 200-yard freestyle (66th) and the 50-yard freestyle (69th). Junior Laura Simpson (Perkiomenville, Pa.) has swam well in the 200-yard freestyle this year and is seeded 52nd in addition to being the 43rd seed in the 500-yard freestyle. First year Maria Soraghan (East Hampstead, N.H.) is looking to cap her exceptional rookie season with a strong showing in three events. She is the 49th seed in the 50-yard freestyle, the 54th seed in the 100-yard freestyle and is seeded 55th in the 100-yard backstroke. Senior Michaela Morris (Duxbury, Mass.) will look to make her only individual event the best of her career, seeding 53rd in the 100-yard butterfly with a school-record time of 59.68.
First year Emily Buttafuoco (Londonderry, N.H.) joins Soraghan as one of two first years to qualify for three events for the Sharks. She is seeded 71st in both the 50 and 200-yard freestyle events, while standing as the 78th seed in the 100-yard freestyle. First year Elizabeth Bartlett (Richmond, Mass.) posted a personal-best time of 1:09.00 and is seeded 48th in the 100-yard breaststroke, while classmate Olivia Walz (Natick, Mass.) competes in the 100-yard freestyle as the 84th seed.
Simmons will also compete in all five relay events with entries in the 200, 400 and 800-yard freestyle as well as the 200 and 400-yard medley relays.