Knights take 16 events at home Invitational
In its last meet before Big East action, the Rutgers women’s swimming and diving team took advantage of a home meet Saturday by capturing 16 first-place finishes at the SWRC Invitational.
Head coach Phil Spiniello was impressed with the way the team performed in the pool.
“It went very well,” Spiniello said. “Across the board we look like a better team than we were at this time last year. I’m very pleased with the start of our season.”
Jacquelyn Ward, who finished first in three events, led the way for the Scarlet Knights. The senior took the top spot in the 200-meter fly with a time of 1:53:07, along with the 100-meter butterfly and the 200-meter IM.
“The team did great for having so many new freshmen and this being our first meet,” Ward said. “Everyone was able to stay positive, and there was so much energy on the pool deck. We swam great.”
The meet was the Knights’ first competition against other teams. They matched up against Southern Connecticut, St. Peter’s and four club teams.
Although the meet did not count toward any of the swimmers’ records or times, it provided valuable competition for the Knights as they prepare for their first Big East meet this weekend.
“We definitely needed [the meet],” Ward said. “We’ve been working so hard, so we needed to just get up and race, see some results and have something to base our improvements off of.”
Sophomore swimmer Mary Moser finished first in the 50- and 100-meter freestyle, while Courtney Sepich and Brianne Lindblad finished first and second in the 100- and 200-meter backstroke, respectively.
Senior Trisha Averill captured the 100-meter breaststroke for Rutgers. Her finishing time of 1:05.69 beat out teammate Victoria Maqueda.
Junior diver Katie Kearney took first place in the one-meter event. Other divers placing for the team include freshman Nicole Honey, sophomore Nicole Scott and junior Carissa Santora.
“The divers stood out,” Spiniello said. “They did a tremendous job on the boards and really had a great start to their season.”
While the team impressed its coach, he knows it still needs to work hard if it wants to be competitive in the Big East.
“We need to learn how to race back-to-back days,” Spiniello said. “When we show up in February at the Big East Championships, it’s a four-day-long meet so we need to learn how to race and get up and race the next day.”
While Ward also understands Rutgers needs to continue to work hard, the veteran believes the team is ready to compete in the conference.
“We are [ready],” Ward said. “I think we are going to surprise a lot of teams out there.”
The Knights earn their first chance to compete in a Big East meet in Storrs, Conn. The Knights face off against host Connecticut, Georgetown and Villanova.