RU earns victory at home meet
No matter what sport, every team wants to begin the season with a victory. But six straight wins to kick off the year have Rutgers head swimming and diving coach Phil Spiniello excited for what lies ahead for the program.
“This is a special group of women,” Spiniello said. “These swimmers and divers are motivated, have goals and every day, put those goals in front of them in trying to get better in the pool.”
The 6-0 Scarlet Knights kept their record unblemished this year as they captured team victories last weekend against Seton Hall and Texas Christian.
The Knights took down the once-undefeated Pirates, 278-74, and escaped with a 197-155 victory against the Horned Frogs in the two-day event at the Sonny Werblin Recreation Center.
The success of the upperclassmen continued as seniors Brianne Lindblad and Jacquelyn Ward contributed toward the tri-meet sweep.
Ward took home three individual titles, which included the 200-yard individual medley Friday, and two wins during Saturday’s portion. She hit the wall first in both the 400-yard individual medley and 500-yard freestyle, which she finished with a personal-best time of 4:59.96.
Lindblad experienced her fair share of success, as well. The Kent, Wash., native placed first Saturday in the 100-yard backstroke and the 200-yard backstroke.
Sophomore Chelsea Rolin joined Lindblad in two individual win columns with victories in both the 200- and 1,000-yard freestyle events. The underclassman finished the 1,000-yard race in a season-best time of 10:19.98.
In all, the Knights took 10 individual swimming titles along with victories in the 200- and 400-yard medley relays.
Senior Trisha Averill, who placed first in the 100-yard breaststroke, was happy with the way the team performed, but knows it needs to continue its hard work in practice to keep momentum in the right direction.
“I thought we did really well overall,” Averill said. “There were some things that didn’t go perfectly, but for the most part it went pretty good. We just need to keep working on the finer things for future races.”
For the divers, junior Carissa Santora continued with her strong showing in the 3-meter dive. The former Virginia Tech Hokie captured first in the event with a score of 283.80.
Captain Katie Kearney picked up a second-place finish in the 1-meter dive, while sophomore Nicole Scott finished third in both the 1- and 3-meter dives
“It was a great performance for our divers,” Spiniello said. “We all realize that there is more work to be done in order to reach our goals in February at the Big East Championships.”
Spiniello sees a difference in the team’s attitude from last year and is ecstatic at the level of success it has experienced thus far.
“It’s exciting to be undefeated,” Spiniello said. “It makes me excited for what’s to come in the second half of the season and a nice reward for the hard work these women have put in to this point. It keeps us motivated.”