By Simmons Athletics
Simmons College women’s swimming & diving Head Coach Mindy Williams (Hampstead, N.H.) was named the New England Intercollegiate Swimming & Diving Association Charles Silvia Women’s Swimming Coach of the Year and Miriam Swisher (Albuquerque, N.M.) was tabbed the Bruce Hutchinson Swimmer of the Meet, following the NEISDA Championships on Feb. 16-19 in Kingston, R.I. at host University of Rhode Island, it was announced by NEISDA.
Williams is named the NEISDA Coach of the Year for the second time in four years after being named the top mentor in 2014 as well. She becomes the first coach since 2013 to win the award multiple times. The Sharks’ skipper guided them to their highest finish in school history, placing second among 21 programs at the NEISDA Championship, while seeing nine Simmons competitors earn All-NEISDA status a combined 41 times, including 36 medal-efforts and 21 gold medallions.
The former Colby College standout directed the Sharks to their first perfect dual meet season in school history, posting a 12-0 mark, while seeing nine school records fall during the campaign. A nine-year veteran at Simmons, Williams also guided the Sharks to their 13th straight (ninth during her tenure) Great Northeast Athletic Conference Championship in December.
Williams’ teams have compiled a 65-38 record during her time at the Fenway School, including 42-6 over the last four seasons for an 87.5% winning mark. Simmons has also showed a steady progression at the NEISDA Championship, ascending from 11th-place, in Williams’ first year at the helm, to three straight years of third, prior to the team’s second-place showing at this year’s meet. In addition, the Sharks have broken 25 of the 27 individual and relay records that stand in the school’s record books during her stay in Boston.
Swisher earns the Hutchinson Award for the second straight year to become the first swimmer to earn the honor multiple times since at least 2009. The senior earned seven gold medals, placing first in all three individual events that she entered and was a part of winning relay teams in all four races that she competed in. The La Cueva High School product became the only competitor in school history to win three individual races at NEISDA. In addition, Swisher was the recipient of the Kay Fromer Senior High Point Scoring Award handed out to the highest-scoring senior swimmer over the past four years. She won the 200-yard backstroke by almost two seconds with a time of 2:05.73 and added a win in the 200-yard freestyle by just under three seconds with a mark of 1:53.54.
An Exercise Science major, Swisher touched the wall at 52.09 to capture the 100-yard freestyle by more than a second. She began and ended the weekend’s meet with victories in relay events for Simmons. She opened the meet by swimming the anchor leg of the team’s winning 800-yard freestyle relay, contributing to a time of 7:50.49 to win by more than seven seconds. Swisher contributed to a pair of relay wins the following day, setting the tone for the 200-yard freestyle relay with an opening 50-yard split of 23.91 to fuel an overall mark of 1:38.82.
She followed that effort with the lead backstroke segment of the 400-yard medley relay and helped the Sharks post a school-record and winning time of 3:56.59. Swisher capped the meet by making her final appearance at NEISDA, swimming the anchor leg of the squad’s winning 400-yard freestyle, hitting the wall at 3:33.10 to shatter the previous school standard by almost four seconds. In addition to her winning ways during the meet, she also recorded a school-record time of 23.65 in a time trial to achieve the NCAA ‘B’ cut for the 50-yard freestyle.
Swisher’s success at the NEISDA Championship has been staggering over the past four years, seeing her achieve All-NEISDA status 25 times, including 24 medals – 12 golds, eight silvers and four bronzes. The four-year swimmer earned five gold medals, including two individual titles last year, while breaking a 13-year old meet record in the 200-yard freestyle with a mark of 1:52.85. She is the only competitor in school history to win multiple events in two different NEISDA Championship meets.
For the season, Swisher has been the definition of dominant, winning 23 of 24 individual races in dual meets and final heats of championship meets. She has won all 13 freestyle events she has entered, ranging from the 50 to the 1000, as well as all 10 backstroke races she has entered. Her only non-victory was a second-place effort in the 100-yard individual medley. The four-year swimmer has been a part of three school records this season, including an individual mark. In December, Swisher was the high scorer at the GNAC Championship, winning all four individual events in conference-record times in addition to helping Simmons to a pair of relay titles, while also establishing new GNAC standards in those events as well.
Swisher has made a place for herself in history as Simmons’ greatest swimmer of all time being named the GNAC Swimming & Diving Athlete of the Year twice. She has racked up 110 top-three efforts, while placing first 95 times during her career in dual meets and final heats of championship meets for an 84.8 winning percentage.
She currently holds six individual school records and has been a part of four school relay team standards in addition to a claim of seven pool standards. She has earned 14 GNAC Individual Championships during her tenure, while owning 11 GNAC records.