WELLESLEY, Mass. – The Simmons University women's swimming & diving team won its 16th straight Great Northeast Athletic Conference Swimming & Diving Championship, while Norwich University men's swimming & diving took home the men's championship title today at the Boston Sports Institute Natatorium in Wellesley, Mass.
The Sharks have now won 18 of the last 19 GNAC crowns. Simmons tallied 1181.5 points for the three-day meet to finish ahead of runner-up Regis College (Mass.), which totaled 692 points in the meet that scored 10 finalists and 10 consolation finalists. Regis, third-place Husson University (658.5 points) and fourth-place Colby-Sawyer College (635 points) were all separated by just 57 points in a tight race for second place. Norwich's women placed fifth with 570.5, followed by University of Saint Joseph (Conn.) with 443.5, Elms College with 335, Albertus Magnus College with 305 and Saint Joseph's College (Maine) with 287 points.
Norwich wins for the third consecutive year since the league's inaugural championship meet in the 2017-18 campaign. Prior to that, the Cadets had won six GNAC Invitationals before the conference gained the minimum number of members to sponsor a league championship on the men's side. Norwich tallied 466 points to finish ahead of Husson (192), which edged out Regis (179) for the runner-up spot. Saint Joseph placed fourth with 166 points in just its second season sponsoring men's athletics, while Elms tallied 133 points to finish fifth. Saint Joseph's scored 91 points and Colby-Sawyer posted a total of 39 points.
Simmons won four of its 10 events during the meet on the final day of the championship, including a pair of wins from senior Áine Scholand (Albuquerque, N.M.). Scholand opened the night by winning the 200-yard freestyle by more than two seconds with a time of 1:56.11. She added a victory in the 100-yard backstroke to edge sophomore teammate Sarah Singleton (Mission Hills, Calif.) by 34 one-hundreths of a second to become just one of five competitors to earn multiple wins during the meet. She finished the meet with the second-highest point total (69) behind a pair of firsts and a second-place showing during the weekend. Scholand capped her outstanding evening by swimming the third leg of the Sharks winning 400-yard freestyle relay, joining lead swimmer junior Olivia Walz (Natick, Mass.), sophomore Lauren Howard (Abington, Mass.) and senior anchor Laura List (Bedford, Mass.) to post a mark of 3:39.89. First year Meg Driscoll (Haverhill, Mass.) joined Scholand with multiple victories when she captured the 200-yard breaststroke with a time of 2:32.01 to give Simmons a 1-2-3 sweep with Walz (2:32.71) and classmate Katelyn Quinlan (Haverhill, Mass.) (2:37.88) finishing in succession.
Norwich sophomore Megan Duffy (Shelton, Conn.) put an exclamation point on a brilliant meet with her third GNAC individual title in as many events after touching the wall first in a GNAC-record time of 2:12.84 in the 200-yard butterfly. She finished the championship meet with a perfect 72 points. First year Nikki Ansley (Berlin, Germany) won a pair of events on the night for Norwich as the only rookie in the meet to win more than one race. Ansley sprinted to victory in the 50-yard freestyle with a time of 24.91 and posted a time of 26.75 to establish a new conference record in the 50-yard butterfly by three one-hundreths of a second to tie Scholand with a pair of firsts and a second-place effort for the meet.
Regis cemented its hold on the runner-up position with individual wins from senior Sarah Leonard (Brockton, Mass.) and sophomore Julia Burke (North Andover, Mass.). Leonard's furious finish in the 100-yard individual medley gave her the event by just six one-hundreths of a second over Colby-Sawyer sophomore Kelsey Brown (Douglas, Mass.). The finish was the second win of the meet for Leonard to give her 67 points for the fourth-highest total among all competitors. Burke captured the 50-yard breaststroke by more than a second with a time of 32.13 to finish as the Pride's second-most prolific scorer with first, second and fourth place efforts during the three-day meet.
List, Singleton and junior Anna Leedham (Lowell, Mass.) finished among the meet's top-10 scorers for Simmons. List earned second place in the 200-yard freestyle to give her a first, second third-place performance in her final GNAC title meet to match Singleton. Leedham placed second in the 200-yard butterfly and fourth in the 50-yard fly to give her 61 points as the ninth-highest scorer.
First year Rebecca Lee (Redding, Conn.) led Colby-Sawyer for the meet with 64 points with first, second and fourth-place efforts, while Brown's second-place showing was added to a third and fourth-place effort for a total of 60 points for the Chargers.
First year Ellie Clarke (Ellsworth, Maine) led Husson with 59 points, following a third-place finish in the 100-yard backstroke on the final day to go with a second-place finish in the 50-yard back on the previous day. First year Alexia Weir (Hebron, Conn.) paced Saint Joseph during the meet and added a third-place in the 100-yard individual medley and fifth place in the 100-yard backstroke to give her 59 points for the meet. First year Ana Lucia Gutierrez Gomez (Hermosillo, Mexico) also scored 59 points to lead Albertus Magnus, including a second-place finish in the 50-yard freestyle and a third-place effort in the 200-yard freestyle on the final day.
Sophomore Brittany North (Palmer, Mass.) finished the meet with 49 points to lead Elms, including a fifth (200-back), seventh (50-fly) and eighth-place (100-fly) showing during the meet. Senior Alexis Coiley (Fort Fairfield, Maine) led Saint Joseph's with 39 points and earned seventh in the 50-yard breaststroke and eighth in the 200-yard IM during the meet.
Junior Cameron Ferreira (Cocoa Beach, Fla.) paced Norwich, winning both of his individual events during the night with a time of 2:20.40 to take the 200-yard breaststroke and a mark of 57.77 to finish first in the 100-yard IM. He was one of five competitors to win multiple events during the meet, including three Cadets. Norwich won 11 events during the meet and sophomore Michael Kuehne (Auburn, Mich.) captured his second event of the meet with a time of 29.45 in the 50-yard breaststroke, while junior Sam Carlson (Dedham, Maine), senior Harrison Brock (Alexandria, Va.), sophomore Brian Parrott (Londonderry, N.H.) and senior Alex DiGiacomo (Norfolk, Mass.) combined to win the 400-yard freestyle relay in a time of 3:19.59 to close the night for Norwich. DiGiacomo finished as the meet's fifth-leading scorer and turned in a second-place finish in the 50-yard freestyle on the final day.
Regis first year Robert Wood (Cathedral City, Calif.) and Husson sophomore Steven Johnston (Hermon, Maine) each finished first during the night to give each of them wins in all three individual races they entered during the meet. Wood opened the night with a victory in the 200-yard freestyle on a time of 1:47.86, while Johnston touched first in the 50-yard freestyle with a mark of 21.86. Sophomore GianCarlos Banrey (Roslindale, Mass.) won the final individual event of the night for Regis with a time of 23.94 to tie classmate Brendan Pike (Weymouth, Mass.) with 28 points as the meet's sixth-leading scorer. Sophomore Joe Vail (Saco, Maine) placed second in the 50-yard breaststroke and third in the 200-yard breaststroke to contribute to 25 points for Husson.
Saint Joseph's first year Evan Whaley (Merrimack, N.H.) won the 200-yard butterfly for Saint Joseph's (Maine) with a time of 2:02.04 in addition to a pair of six-place efforts to give him 21 points to rank 19th in the meet. Sophomore Jacob Wyse (Broad Brook, Conn.) was also a winner for the night, placing first in the 100-yard backstroke with a time of 54.79 to add to his 28 points to lead Saint Joseph (Conn.) and place sixth among all competitors. Elms junior Edward Helldorfer (Brunswick, Maine) placed second in the 50-yard butterfly and third in the 200-yard butterfly during the night and established himself as the 12th-leading scorer with 23 points.
Junior Garrett Scahill (Manville, R.I.) led Colby-Sawyer with 16 points during the meet, including a GNAC record win in the 200-back from the previous day.