Longacre earns weekly honors in pool
If her performance against Connecticut and Villanova is any indication, big things may be on the horizon for Rutgers senior swimmer Shayna Longacre.
The Pennsylvania product paced the Scarlet Knights' season-opening victory with a pool record time of 1:04.15 in the 100-yard breaststroke. And that was only the beginning.
Longacre added victories in the 100 and 200-yard freestyle, helped set two more pool records as the second leg of the 200 and 400-yard freestyle relays and swam the second leg of the first-place 200-yard medley relay team.
For her accomplishments, Longacre was named the Big East Women's Swimming and Diving Athlete of the Week.
"It was pretty exciting," Longacre said. "I got an e-mail from [head coach Chuck Warner] telling me I got it and I was pretty stoked about it."
The performance was particularly encouraging because it came off a junior season in which health limited Longacre — who nonetheless managed to qualify for the NCAA Championships in the 100-yard breaststroke.
"Last year I got mono before Big East. … I was able to pull off some good races but it wasn't … what was expected of me," she said. "I'm just excited to see what I can do my last year and just have a lot of fun."
Longacre enjoyed her share of success as a sophomore by building on a freshman campaign that helped her to qualify for the Olympic Trials and travel to Japan as part of the U.S. National Team. A win in the 100-yard breaststroke accompanied a pair of third place marks in the 200-yard breaststroke and 200-yard individual medley at the 2008 Big East Championships.
Longacre then wrapped up the year with an impressive 15th place showing in the 100-yard breaststroke at the NCAA Championships before heading to Nebraska to compete in the Olympic Trials. Those achievements earned Longacre Honorable Mention All-American accolades.
Now a senior with a wealth of experience, Longacre is optimistic about RU's prospects for the rest of this season due in large part to the team's 11-member freshmen class.
"There's lots of depth now and the freshmen class we have can definitely take us somewhere that we once were," Longacre said. "The freshmen definitely add depth. They help in our relays so much and relays are key to doing well at Big East because they're worth so many points."
Warner acknowledges the extra dimension the freshmen have added, but said that Longacre and her fellow seniors have been the driving force.
"Sometimes it's difficult to still have it in your senior year as an athlete," he said. "Our seniors are doing a pretty good job of that. Shayna's doing a great job. Jackie Klein is having the best season thus far of her life. Catherine Whetstone's doing a great job. They've really made a great effort."