April 19, 2019 | 73° F

Wagner offers Knights break from Big East

Photo by Jovelle Abbey Tamayo |

Junior Brianne Lindblad won the 200-yard individual medley last year against Wagner, qualifying for the Big'East Championships.

The Rutgers swimming and diving team enjoyed a bye week over the Thanksgiving holiday but this weekend the Scarlet Knights are back to their grueling schedule.

Rutgers takes a welcome break from the weekly rigors of the Big East on Friday, when Wagner ventures to the RU Aquatic Center. The diving team is pulling double duty, as they will also travel to intrastate rival Princeton for the Princeton Diving Invitational.

The Knights (1-3, 1-3) got a glimpse of Wagner when they competed in the Frank Elm Invitational on Nov. 19 on the Banks. Wagner placed 10th out of the 15 teams competing at the Invitational, while Rutgers managed to score a third place finish.

The Knights also faced Wagner at home last season and took first place in 12 events en route to a 121-99 victory. The most outstanding performer in the meet was Brianne Lindblad, who qualified for the Big East Championships with her time of 2:12.33 in the 200-yard individual medley.

Lindblad, now a junior, looks to continue her career success against Wagner this year in the 100- and 200-yard backstroke.

Rutgers also found success last year against Wagner in relays and looks to build on those performances this time around.

The Knights' relay teams, comprised of Lindblad, sophomore Taylor Curado, junior Jacquelyn Ward, as well as freshmen Mary Moser and Emilie Kaufmann, have been outstanding thus far and have a mindset for victory.

"In swimming a relay, you aren't just swimming for yourself like it is in individual events," Curado said. "You are swimming for those three other girls and also for the rest of your team."

The chemistry that has developed between the swimmers over the course of the season has been extremely beneficial to the team.

They haven't been competing together for very long — Moser and Kaufmann are only in their second month of Division I competition — but the leadership and experience of Lindblad, Ward and Curado has helped them mesh into a feared relay team.

"All of us respect each other in and out of the pool which makes it a lot easier to pump each other up when we are all on the same relay," Curado said.

Rutgers diving has not been to the Princeton Invitational since 2008, when senior captain Jen Betz was only a sophomore.

Betz's best finish in 2008 was only an eighth-place score in the one-meter dive and she will undoubtedly look to improve in her return to the Invitational.

Freshman Nicole Scott also looks to make a mark in her first trip to Princeton after grabbing victories in Rutgers' last two contests.

The Knights face some Ivy League competition in Harvard, Penn and host Princeton, as well as other programs like Drexel.

These are the last meets for the Knights during the 2010 calendar year and are also their final live competitions for almost exactly one month.

It will be important for Rutgers to go into winter break with some momentum that can carry them throughout the remainder of the season.

Matt Canvisser

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