Knights take third in first conference meet
Halloween weekend proved to be a mixed bag of both tricks and treats for the Rutgers swimming and diving team as they defeated Georgetown (226-127), but lost to both Connecticut (224-129) and Villanova (209-144) at the RU Aquatic Center.
The four-way Big East meet marked the Scarlet Knights' (1-2, 1-2) first of the regular season. Connecticut beat Georgetown (257-96), but lost to Villanova (200-153), who swept the meet, besting Georgetown (273-80).
"I am happy with the overall mentality of my team at this meet," said head coach Phil Spiniello. "The women never stopped fighting from start to finish."
Senior captain Jen Betz led the diving team by taking first place in the three-meter dive. Coming off a performance at last weekend's Sonny Werblin Invitational where she broke the school record, Betz once again proved why she is so difficult to beat in the event. Her score of 269.60 was not enough to match her record, but it was enough for her to take first place.
She also came in second in the one-meter with a score of 244.55, just behind Connecticut's Danielle Cecco, who scored a 248.30.
On the swimming side, junior Brianne Lindblad finished first in both the 100 and 200-yard backstroke. She finished the 100-yard race in 57.49, over half a second before anyone else touched the wall.
Lindblad completed the 200 in 2:05.12, narrowly edging out Mikah Schlesinger of Villanova by .32 of a second. Sophomore Taylor Curado added the Knights' only other first place finish with a time of 56.87 in the 100-yard butterfly.
Junior Jacquelyn Ward, who racked up four first-place finishes at the Werblin Invitational, finished second in the 200-yard individual medley with a time of 2:07.28. Only Caitlin Gallagher of Connecticut, who posted a time of 2:06.39, bested Ward.
For the Knights' 11 freshmen, it was their first taste of non-exhibition Division I swimming and diving, and it just so happened to come against three bitter conference rivals.
Emilie Kaufmann paced the rookie swimmers with two third place finishes in breaststroke events: a 1:06.89 in the 100-yard and 2:23.93 in the 200-yard. Freshman diver Nicole Scott also captured a third place finish in the three-meter dive with her score of 265.4.
The Knights are now forced to play catch-up in the conference after failing to capitalize on an early-season battle in their own pool.
They have a chance to make up ground in their next meet on Nov. 13, when they hit the pool against West Virginia in Morgantown, W.Va. The Knights look to correct their mistakes in practice with two weeks until their next meet and attempt not to lose sight of the ultimate goal.
"It is clear that we have some areas to improve upon before we see these teams again in February at the Big East Championship meet," Spiniello said.