RU?clinches fourth straight win
The one objective Rutgers head swimming and diving coach Phil Spiniello wanted to accomplish at last Friday’s home meet was to get a full team effort.
The Scarlet Knights responded by capturing a 165-121 win against Wagner en route to their fourth victory of the season. The team now boasts an undefeated record with four wins, including three in the Big East, and took first in 11 out of 16 events.
“It was a good meet,” Spiniello said. “I was happy with the whole team. It was a team effort and we did some good things in both swimming and diving.”
In total, seven swimmers took first in their respective events.
Chelsea Rolin led the Knights with two individual titles. The sophomore took first in both the 100-yard freestyle and 100-yard backstroke. Along with her two individual wins, she captured the 200-yard medley relay along with senior Brianne Lindblad, junior Taylor Curado and former Big East Swimmer of the Week Trisha Averill.
Lindblad led a trio of Knights in the 50-yard freestyle. Her time of 24:59 beat out teammates Curado and Averill, who finished second and third, respectively, in the event.
Newcomer Lindsay Gibson-Brokop narrowly beat out fellow freshman Caroline Carlisle in the 200-yard backstroke. Gibson-Brokop’s finishing time of 2:11.0 was only .7 seconds less than Carlisle, who took second in the event.
Seniors Jacquelyn Ward and Michelle Berman, junior Taylor Zafir and sophomore Emilie Kaufman also finished in first for the Knights.
“I think it was a great continuation of positive energy,” said junior diver Katie Kearney. “The team came together, kept the enthusiasm up and got another win under our belt.”
For Wagner, the loss marked its first on the short season. The Seahawks posted two team victories along with three individual wins. Swimmer Alexandra Cooney continued her strong season for Wagner when she took home the 500-yard freestyle event. The sophomore also aided her team’s first-place finish in the 200-yard freestyle relay.
In diving, Rutgers took home both the 3- and 1-meter dive titles. Sophomore Nicole Scott beat out junior Carissa Santora for a first-place finish in the 1-meter event while Santora won the 3-meter dive.
“We need to keep up with finishing our dives,” Kearney said. “We know how to do our dives and we just need to continue with how we do them in practice. [Friday] we came together and did great.”
The strong start has Spiniello excited for the rest of the season, but the second-year coach knows his team needs to hit the pool hard this week in order to improve for this weekend’s two-day swim event. The Big East meet, which begins Friday, features Texas Christian and Seton Hall, providing a challenge for Spiniello’s undefeated team.
“It’s going to have to be a complete team effort to beat both of those teams,” Spiniello said. “Both are very talented teams and we are going to have to swim and dive to the best of our ability to hang with both of those teams.”