Rutgers drops two meets to spoil unbeaten mark
The Rutgers swimming and diving team entered the state of Virginia with no losses.
It left with two Saturday, losing to both James Madison and Richmond in consecutive days. While the defeats ended the Scarlet Knights’ chance at a perfect season, head coach Phil Spiniello was satisfied with the way the team performed in the pool.
“We came out of this weekend with two losses. However, there are a lot of positives that came out of the two meets,” Spiniello said. “It was a learning experience for us as a growing program, and I’m looking forward to us working on what we learned this weekend.”
The Knights, who entered the weekend with seven wins, dropped the meet against Richmond, 163-135, and lost the day before to James Madison, 161-139.
Senior swimmer Trisha Averill took home three first-place finishes Friday for the Knights. The captain took both the 100- and 200-yard breaststroke events and finished the 200-yard individual medley with a time of 2:04.55 for her third victory of the day.
Senior Jacquelyn Ward won both the 200-yard freestyle and 200-yard butterfly events, senior Brianne Lindblad took gold in the 100- and 200-yard backstroke and junior Taylor Curado finished first in the 100-yard butterfly.
Curado looks at the loss as a turning point this season for the program.
“Obviously no one likes to lose, but it was good to see some real good competition,” Curado said. “It was good to swim against some fast girls and get us in the mindset to work on things that are going to make us better going into the Big East Championships.”
Diver Nicole Jotso, who won both 1- and 3-meter dives, led the Dukes. The senior beat out Rutgers sophomore Nicole Scott in both events.
Scott found redemption the following day against Richmond, where she took first in the 3-meter dive and placed second in the 1-meter event behind junior teammate Katie Kearney.
Ward continued with her strong weekend, as she placed first in 500-yard freestyle and 200-yard butterfly. She was the only swimmer for the Knights to place first in an event against the Spiders. Although the loss was their second in a row, Curado knows the Knights tried their hardest despite swimming on consecutive days.
“Swimming back-to-back days against two different teams is very difficult, especially swimming a whole load of events each day,” Curado said. “For a lineup like that on both days, it takes a toll on your body, so it was good to see people step up and swim their hearts out.”
The Knights have one more meet left before the Big East Championships. Spiniello wants the team to continue its hard work in the pool and is confident it will be ready despite the losses.
“Over the next three weeks, we need to focus on the details of our swimming and diving,” Spiniello said. “If we do that, we are going to be very happy with the results at the Big East meets.”
Rutgers returns to action Saturday when it hosts Fordham and Rider at the Sonny Werblin Recreation Center.