Knights begin season with quad-meet sweep
While the East Coast could not escape Saturday’s snowstorm, the Rutgers swimming and diving team managed to make the best of it. The Scarlet Knights swept all three participating schools in this weekend’s Big East quad meet in Storrs, Conn.
“I thought it was a great start to our season,” said head coach Phil Spiniello. “We had a lot of good swimming and diving for the month of October. We set the tone for the rest of this season and what lies ahead for this team.”
The quad meet marked the first Big East event for the Knights, who defeated Villanova, Georgetown and host Connecticut to capture their first team victory of the season. The Knights beat UConn, 204-149, bested Villanova, 200-153, and capped off their sweep with a 267-86 win against Georgetown.
Spiniello liked the way the team took to the pool and believes it needs to keep improving upon its performance, which consisted of events throughout a two-day span.
“Starting off the season 3-0 is always a good feeling,” Spiniello said. “But walking out of there, I think everyone knows that we have areas that we need to improve upon and things that we need to keep developing if we are going to be able to compete in February in the Big East Championships.”
Trisha Averill, who captured four individual titles, led the Knights. The senior took the 100-yard breaststroke on Day 1 with a time of 1:04.02 and the 200-yard medley with a time of 2:05.32.
She continued her effort during Day 2 by taking first in both the 400-yard medley and 200-yard breaststroke.
“I was pretty happy with how it all went,” Averill said. “I think it was a good indicator in general of how our team is doing.”
Spiniello was pleased with Averill’s outing but believes she did not reach her ceiling in only one meet.
“Trisha is a very hardworking athlete and will continue to improve throughout the season,” Spiniello said. “It’s going to be exciting seeing her this season.”
Along with Averill, two other swimmers placed at the top of their heats. Senior Brianne Lindblad took the 200-yard backstroke title and junior Taylor Curado finished with a first-place time of 56.92 seconds in the 100-yard butterfly.
Both swimmers also helped the Knights win the 400-yard medley relay, teaming up with Averill and fellow senior Jacquelyn Ward. Sophomore Mary Moser replaced Ward in the Day 2 200-yard medley victory.
Along with helping the 400-yard relay team place first, Ward contributed with a trio of top-three finishes, including a second-place showing in both the 200- and 400-yard IM.
Emilie Kaufmann also turned in impressive performances as the sophomore placed behind Averill in the 100-yard breaststroke for second place.
“I think we did great,” Averill said. “Last year we lost to both UConn and Villanova by over 100 points and this year we beat them. It was just a great showing of everything our team has worked on over the past year and a half.”
For the divers, junior Carissa Santora delivered a second-place finish in the 3-meter dive and tallied 284.10 points for the Knights. Freshman Nicole Honey placed third in both the 3- and 1-meter dive events.
“The divers did a great job on the boards,” Spiniello said. “They really helped rally the team with some big points in necessary moments of the meet.”
The team looks to continue its early season success when it plays host to Wagner on Friday at the Sonny Werblin Recreation Center.