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By Abe Osheyack Date: 8/10/10 Bookmark and Share

Smith Alumna, Athlete and Instructor Dies Suddenly

Memorial service to be held at Smith in September.

The Smith community is mourning the sudden loss of alumna, record-setting athlete and former swim instructor Marlene “Marly” Pineda who died in an accident in Boston Monday, Aug. 9, according to her family.

A native of Bosque Farms, N.M., Pineda graduated in 2008 with a bachelor of arts in education and child study and, two years later, earned her master’s in exercise and sport studies.

  Marly Pineda

She was in Boston working as the interim head coach at the Cambridge Master’s Swim Club and serving as a volunteer coach on the swim team at Harvard University. 

“This is clearly a great loss for us all,” said Kim Bierwert, coach of the Smith swimming and diving team. “Marly was a great force in our lives and lived life to its fullest, giving much more than most people give in a lifetime let alone in 20-some-odd years. We will miss her, and she will live on in us all. Her contributions and ability to give were unmatched.”

At Smith, Pineda was a four-year member of the swimming and diving team and served as team captain during her junior and senior seasons. She was named to the New England Women’s  & Men’s Athletic Conference All-Conference first team in 2007-08 and led the Pioneers to an appearance at the NCAA championships in 2008.

At Opening Convocation in 2006, President Christ mentioned the fact that Pineda had broken two Seven Sisters swimming records at the Seven Sisters Championship. Pineda remains the Dalton Pool record holder in the 1,000- and 1,650-meter freestyle.

“She was someone who really gave back to Smith College,” said Lynn Oberbillig, director of athletics. “Swimming was always her passion, and she used that passion once her days in the pool were done to help out the swim and dive program.”

During the spring semester, Pineda taught swim conditioning while enrolled in the exercise and sport science program.

“Today we are all suffering the loss of a remarkable young woman, struck down in the prime of her life,” said Jim Johnson, a professor in the Exercise and Sport Science program. “ESS has lost a wonderful student and we mourn her loss. I want to remember her positive outlook, her smile.”

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