WINTHROP, Mass. – Simmons College's Natalie Giraldi (Bedford, N.H.) was named the Great Northeast Athletic Conference Women's Swimming & Diving Rookie of the Week for the week of February 16-22, it was announced today by the league.
The award marks the 10th straight reporting period that the Sharks have earned the honor from the GNAC. Giraldi has earned the GNAC accolade a league-high six times for the weeks of October 27 to November 2, November 3-9, November 10-16, December 1-7 and February 9-15, while first year Michaela Morris (Duxbury, Mass.) was tabbed for the weeks of December 1-7, January 5-11, January 12-18 and January 26 to February 1. First year diver Leyan Li (Deerfield, N.H.) was chosen for the award for January 19-25.
The first year swimmer was a part of two school records on February 21 during the 2015 New England Intercollegiate Swimming & Diving Association Time Trials held at the Holmes Sports Center Natatorium on the campus of Simmons in Boston, Mass. The third day of competition of the 2015 NEISDA Championships were canceled due to heavy snowfall on February 15 in Kingston, R.I. at the University of Rhode Island, so those events were held during the trials as well as additional time trial events. The trials included 10 schools, including eight of the top 10 finishers from the Championship weekend.
Giraldi broke the school record for the 200-yard breaststroke by more than five seconds with a time of 2:28.41. She capped the day by swimming the third leg of the Simmons 400-freestyle relay along with lead leg Miriam Swisher (Albuquerque, N.M.), followed by senior Chloe Davis (Merrimack, N.H.) and anchored by sophomore Shylee Stewart (Eastham, Mass.)to post a school-record and pool-record mark of 3:38.30 and shatter the previous standard by almost six seconds.
The Bedford High School graduate has been outstanding in her first collegiate year of swimming, winning 17 of 30 races that she's scored in, including 13 of 21 breaststroke events. The Physical Therapy major rose to the challenge on the biggest stage of her collegiate career, winning the 50-yard breaststroke crown with a time of 30.65 at the 2015 New England Intercollegiate Swimming & Diving Championships on February 13-14. The rookie had set a school record in the event in the preliminaries with a mark of 30.63 earlier in the day. She also placed third in the 100-breaststroke with a personal-best time of 1:07.16. Giraldi also helped the Sharks break a pair of relay records, swimming the breaststroke leg in both the 200 and 400-medley relays. Simmons clocked in at 1:48.73 in the 200, while turning in a time of 3:57.36 in the 400 to record third-place showings in each race. She also swam the second leg of the 200-freestyle relay, helping the Sharks secure a second-place finish with a mark of 1:39.31. Giraldi first opened eyes on the college scene when she racked up 32 points to tie for the second-most at the GNAC Swimming & Diving Championships on December 6-7. She boasted two first place finishes and a pair of second place efforts. The first year set a pair of conference and pool records with her two wins, posting a time of 31.28 in the 50-yard breaststroke and a mark of 1:07.84 in the 100-breaststroke. The first year finished second in the 200-breaststroke with a school-record time of 2:33.51 and was also second in the 50-freestyle at 25.32.
Giraldi has qualified to compete in three individual events and four relay events at the Eastern College Athletic Conference Championships. She will swim in the 50-yard freestyle as well as the 100 and 200-yard breaststroke events in addition to the 200 and 400-yard freestyle relays and the 200 and 400-medley relays for Simmons.
The Sharks closed out their dual-meet results this season by winning five straight for a 10-2 record to tie the school standard for victories in a campaign. They won their 11th straight GNAC Championship earlier in the season and finished third for the second straight year at the NEISDA Championships. Simmons will return to action on Friday, February 27 when it sends six swimmers to Pittsburgh, Pa. to compete in five individual races and four relay events at the Eastern College Athletic Conference Championships hosted by University of Pittsburgh.