Swisher, Giraldi lead swimming and diving in season opener over Westfield State

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By Simmons College Athletics

A swimmer racing to the finish

(Photo from the Simmons College Athletics website: athletics.simmons.edu)

Junior Miriam Swisher and sophomore Natalie Giraldi each tallied 18 points on a pair of first-place finishes to lead the Simmons College women’s swimming and diving team to a 194-90 victory over visiting Westfield State University Saturday afternoon at the Holmes Sports Center Natatorium in Boston, Mass. in the season opener for both squads. The Sharks improve to 1-0 on the season, while the Owls fall to 0-1.

Swisher won the 50-yard backstroke with a mark of 29.47, while also hitting the wall first in the 100-freestyle at 54.74 for the Sharks. Giraldi took the 50-yard breaststroke with a time of 32.50 and later won the 100-yard breaststroke coming in at 1:11.03. The pair helped Simmons win two relay events as well. Swisher swam the lead leg and Giraldi followed in the 200-yard medley relay, joining sophomore Michaela Morris and first-year Kerry Fleming to combine for a first-place time of 1:56.46. Swisher led off the 200-yard freestyle relay and Giraldi closed, while juniors Jordan Mattheisen and Sarah Price swam the second and third legs, respectively, as part of a first-place showing and a mark of 1:46.48.

Westfield State first-year Alex Frazier was the top scorer for the meet, racking up 22 points with a time of 12:00.46 to win the 1000-yard freestyle by more than 12 seconds, before winning the 100-yard backstroke with a time of 1:08.11. She also placed second in the 50-yard backstroke with a time of 32.28. First-year Rebecca Pierce placed second or better in three events to score 17 points for the Owls. She earned a first-place finish in the 100-yard individual medley with a time of 1:07.89 to go with second=place showings in the 50 and 100-yard breaststroke. First year Monique Groux dominated the diving events for Westfield State, scoring 199.73 to win the one-meter board, while putting up 145.95 points to go home with a three-meter board victory.

Morris won the 100-yard butterfly with a mark of 1:05.03 and added a second-place finish in the 100-yard backstroke for the Sharks. Senior Kevyn Lee finished first in the 500-yard freestyle by three one-hundredths of a second on a time of 5:56.74 to just edge Mattheisen. Lee also placed second in the 1000-yard freestyle. Fleming tallied 13 points with a first-place finish in the 50-yard freestyle on a mark of 26.04 in addition to a second-place effort in the 100-yard freestyle in her first collegiate meet. First-years Laura Simpson and Charlotte Rivard each had memorable collegiate debuts as well, placing first in the 200-yard freestyle and the 50-yard butterfly, respectively. Simpson swam to a time of 2:04.41 to win by more than six seconds, while Rivard won in a time of 29.48. Simpson also placed third in the 100-yard freestyle and Rivard finished third in the 50-yard freestyle. Junior Alison Gauvin led the diving squad for Simmons with 140.63 points on the one-meter board to finish second.

The Sharks return to the water on Saturday, Oct. 31 when they host Gordon College and Elms College in a 1 p.m. tri-meet, while the Owls return to action on Oct. 31 when they head to Northampton, Mass. to compete in the Smith College relays in Northampton, Mass. at 12:15 p.m.