BOSTON, Mass. -- Aine Scholand (Albuquerque, N.M.) will compete at the NCAA Women's Swimming & Diving Championships on March 21-24 at the Indiana University of Pennsylvania Natatorium in Indianapolis, Ind.
The sophomore is the first swimmer to ever compete at the NCAA Championship meet for the Sharks. She will compete in the 500-yard freestyle on Wednesday, March 21 in the first event of the day's 10:00 a.m. preliminaries and will also race in the the 1650-yard freestyle on Saturday, March 24.
Scholand won five of the seven 500-yard races she competed in during the season, while touching first in all four 1650-yard events she entered this year.
"Aine has had her heart set on making NCAAs since day one at Simmons, and she has worked all season with tremendous determination to get there," said Simmons Head Swimming & Diving Coach, Mindy Williams. "She's swimming faster than she ever has and our whole program is so excited to support her as she represents Simmons on the National level."
A graduate of Sandia High School, Scholand shattered the school and meet record, while winning the individual title in the 500-yard freestyle with a time of 4:56.98 at the New England Intercollegiate Swimming & Diving Championship at the Tootell Aquatics Center of host University of Rhode Island on February 16. The mark is the 16th-fastest time in all of NCAA Division III this season and is good for the 14th seed at the NCAA Championships . She also captured the Great Northeast Athletic Conference crown in the 500-yard freestyle in December with a conference-record time and gained wins in the event in meets vs. Wellelsey College, Westfield State University, Regis (Mass.) and Colby-Sawyer College.
The West Coast native has been outstanding in the 1650 this season, winning all four races she's suited up for. Her time of 16:55.51 has earned her the number four seed at the NCAA Championships and obliterated the school, pool and meet record en-route to her gold medal effort at the NEISDA Championship on February 18. Scholand won the event at the GNAC Championship as well and finished first in dual meets vs. University of New England, Western New England University and Saint Joseph's College (Maine).
"There's no question that Aine has put the work in and deserves to be racing with the nation's top talent," explained Williams. "She has earned competitive seeds going into the meet, which has definitely helped her stay focused during the last few weeks of training."
Scholand has established herself as one of the premier distance swimmers in the nation, winning 18 of 20 races this year from the 500 to 1650-yard freestyle range and is undefeated in six 1000-yard entries. She was named the Bruce Hutchinson Swimmer of the Meet after breaking three school and meet records to capture a trio of gold medals in her individual events, while helping Simmons win the 800 and 400-yard freestyle relay events in addition to a second-place showing in the 200-yard freestyle to help the Sharks to the NEISDA crown. Scholand has posted 26 top-three finishes in 31 events, including 24 victories and has tallied 278 points to lead Simmons. She has put together two separate event winning streaks of six or more, including a seven-race victory stretch from December 2, 2017 to January 13, 2018. The Neuroscience and Behavior major set a GNAC Championship record in the 200-yard freestyle as part of a 74-point tally to tie for the most points scored in the championship meet for the Sharks.
The New Mexico resident transferred to Simmons prior to the season from Division I Evansville University, where she was named the Purple Aces' Most Improved Newcomer following her first year of collegiate competition. She also finished sixth in the 1650-yard freestyle at the Missouri Valley Conference Championship during her rookie campaign.