Knights compete in first road contest
For the first time this season, the Rutgers swimming and diving team will be racing in unfamiliar territory.
The Scarlet Knights travel to Boston tomorrow to begin the first of a four-meet road trip away from the confines of the RU Aquatic Center.
“I think anytime you leave your home pool it is a different atmosphere,” said head coach Phil Spiniello. “Obviously not as big of a home crowd and definitely a different feel to the natatorium, but I think we’ve prepared for that and talked about that and we’re ready to rise to the challenge.”
Both Rutgers and Boston University come off hosting their own invites Nov. 24. The Knights placed second out of 10 teams at the Frank Elm Invite while the Terriers finished third out of six at the Terrier Invite.
BU (3-1) is 1-1 in dual meets this season losing to Massachusetts (2-3) early in the year before beating Fordham (3-1).
The Knights (4-0) have not competed in a dual meet since late October, when they defeated Wagner (8-1), 181-119, winning 12 of 16 events and giving the Seahawks their sole defeat of the season.
While the Knights only raced in one dual meet this season, the team is confident they can make the adjustments.
“It’s really just race after race, and you have a better idea of where your team is at throughout the meet because it’s a one day, two hour meet as opposed to a three day succession meet,” said junior Greta Leberfinger. “I think we’re ready. We have been practicing on the details, and I think we’re ready to go in there with a good mindset.”
The Knights have continued to stick with their intense workouts in the pool and in the weight room in preparation.
Spiniello believes the fierce training will benefit the swimmers for the AAC Championships starting Feb. 19 and feels the dual meets provide good practice in learning how to swim tired.
“We’re not taking any rest for the Boston meet this weekend, so it is going be a little bit more challenging in that sense,” said senior swimmer Brittany Guinee. “We’re going to be really tired against a really good team, but we’re still going to have to fight hard and do our best to try and get our hand on the wall with a good result.”
Expectations remain high despite the fatigue, with Spiniello expecting most of his swimmers to continue to improve on their season best times.
Against one of the best teams in the Patriot League, Spiniello believes the Knights will need to be sharp to get a strong result.
“I want to see them race competitively, and I want to see them rise to the challenge of a great team like BU,” Spiniello said.
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