Knights enter home meet with momentum from sweep
As the Rutgers women’s swimming and diving team comes off its season-opening sweep, Scarlet Knights head coach Phil Spiniello knows his team still needs to work hard to take advantage of the momentum generated by last weekend’s quad-meet victory.
“We have been making improvements from last weekend and have been working on things that will make us successful down the road,” Spiniello said. “I hope to see those things come into play this weekend.”
The Knights’ next chance at a strong start arrives today, when they host Wagner at the Sonny Werblin Recreation Center.
Rutgers looks to improve on the early season success it showcased in its victories against Villanova, Georgetown and host Connecticut last weekend in Storrs, Conn.
“The energy and motivation level continues to be at a very high level,” Spiniello said. “This team has goals and wants them accomplished.”
The Knights look to swimmer Trisha Averill to lead the team. The junior earned the Big East’s weekly recognition as Female Swimmer of the Week on Tuesday for her four individual titles and role in two relay victories.
“I think that’s a big honor for Trish and a big honor for our program,” Spiniello said. “It speaks volumes of her and the direction of where our program is heading in.”
While Wagner is not a Big East opponent, Spiniello’s team still knows the Seahawks present a challenge.
Wagner earned a quad-meet sweep of its own last weekend with victories against Iona, Sacred Heart and St. Francis. The Seahawks are undefeated with five wins and feature Northeast Conference Diver of the Week Mallory Lee.
For Lee, the award marks her second of the short season. The freshman posted two second-place finishes last weekend in the Seahawks’ quad meet victory. The rookie diver totaled 354.30 points for the team and led the field of NEC competitors.
Wagner also features former NEC Swimmer of the Week Alexandra Cooney and produced three award winners early this season.
Spiniello wants the Knights to treat the meet like any other and understands the challenge the non-conference opponent brings to Piscataway.
“This is going to be a good test for our team,” Spiniello said. “We still have some things we need to improve upon from last weekend, and I want to see those things show up this weekend against Wagner.”
While the team participated in exhibition meets on campus, today marks the first time the Knights hit the waters of the Sonny Werblin Recreation Center during a regular season meet. The home event has Spiniello excited for both his team and the school.
“I can’t wait to swim and dive in our own pool and have our home fans behind us,” Spiniello said. “It’s going to be a great atmosphere.”