Knights dominate former Big East rivals in last meet
Prior to Saturday’s meet at the RU Aquatics Center, head coach Phil Spiniello challenged the Rutgers swimming and diving team to raise its performance.
It was not because the team had been underperforming — the Scarlet Knights entered the quad meet on two straight victories and had been strong throughout the entire season.
Spiniello wanted his team to make a statement.
In about a week, the Knights will face off against some of the top teams in Division I during the AAC Championships.
Finishing the season strong was imperative and the Knights did not disappoint.
Rutgers (9-4-1) impressed in its meet against former Big East rivals Georgetown (4-11) and Providence (4-9) with dominant scores of 182-89 and 196-77, respectively.
“I was very happy. I think our performance is very indicative of where we are at in our season,” Spiniello said. “We’ve gotten some rest, we’re starting to build some speed into our swims and it’s starting to show.”
The meet also marked the last time six Knights will ever swim in their home pool.
While senior days happen every season, this year’s senior class is a little more special. Not only were they Spiniello’s first-ever freshman class during his time with the Knights, but it also contains several school-record holders.
Senior Brittany Guinee holds records in the 200 butterfly and was part of the record-breaking 400-medley relay team along with senior Mary Moser.
Diving team captain Nicole Scott holds records in both the platform event and three-meter dive, and is the only athlete to ever make the NCAAs during Spiniello’s time with the program.
Both Guinee and Scott made the most of their final home meet.
Guinee posted wins in the 100 and 200 butterfly and had a relay victory in the 200 medley, while Scott swept both diving events.
“You always want to go out in a good way,” Guinee said. “I definitely think it gave us that extra bit of motivation to do our best.”
Freshman swimmer Chantal Asselin was the biggest surprise for the Knights, posting wins in both the 100 and 200 free.
Moser, junior Greta Leberfinger and sophomore Joanna Wu also earned individual wins.
Moser captured first in the 50 freestyle, Wu won in the 100 backstroke and Leberfinger finished first in the 100 breast.
In total, six Knights notched at least two event victories on the day. The strong results could also be credited to the competition for places in the conference championships.
Despite the increased competition amongst teammates, the team’s success remains most important.
“There’s always going to be competition because everyone wants to be on the scoring roster,” said sophomore Morgan Pfaff. “But it’s a very healthy competition. Everyone really supports each other, and whoever makes the scoring roster, everyone will be behind no matter what.”
Following the team’s final regular season meet, Spiniello had just one message for his swimmers.
“Let’s finish it up,” Spiniello said. “We’ve done all the preparation … and let’s prepare for what the focus of our whole season has been, and that’s the four days in Louisville ahead.”
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