March 19, 2019 | 42° F

Longacre returns for Big East Champs

The formula is simple — a broken-down body, plus time off from practice, equals a well-rested, explosive athlete when it comes time for competition.

Often seen in professional football, the dynamic changes when considering swimming, a sport in which an entire season's training is geared towards one meet.

So what happens when water is added to the equation?

Junior Shayna Longacre and the Rutgers swimming and diving team are about to find out.

"It's hard to tell," Longacre said, who missed three weeks at the end of the regular season due to mononucleosis. "I'm trying to think positive about it because it gave me enough time to recover and I've actually been swimming pretty well this past week or two."

Longacre won the 50 and 100-meter breaststrokes in the Orange Bowl Classic in January before sickness forced her out of the Swim World Conference Carnival and a dual-meet with Penn State.

"At first, when I got sick, I didn't know if I'd be back," Longacre said. "I just thought, ‘Oh no, my season's over.'"

Longacre went home over winter break, where she got some much-needed rest before returning to the University for the spring semester and began training shortly thereafter.

"She's responded amazingly well to being back," said head coach Chuck Warner. "So I think she's going to do extremely well."

Longacre and the rest of the Scarlet Knights are in the midst of preparations for the Big East Championships, the team's biggest meet of the year along with the NCAA Championships.

A victory for Longacre would mean repeat success. She won the Big East Championship in the 100-yard breaststroke last season.

Longacre also qualified for the NCAA Championships, where she finished 15th in the 100-yard breaststroke and earned the title of an honorable mention All-American.

Her freshman year, as part of the U.S. National Team, she finished 15th in the 100-meter breaststroke. Prior to this season, she also competed in the U.S. Olympic Trials.

"Shayna's the one world class breaststroker that we have on our team," Warner said. "Shayna Longacre is just — she's just a champion. She's somebody that will find a way to get over, and around, and through any obstacles between where she was and where she has to be."

The obstacle facing her now is a three-week absence from the pool during a crucial training period, but Longacre is intent on overcoming it.

"I was at home and I was thinking, maybe this is actually a good thing," Longacre said. "It's kind of like when they take something away from you, you want to do it even more. So I'm more determined now, more than ever."

Steven Miller

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