Wagner poses first dual-meet test
The Rutgers swimming and diving team kicks off its inaugural Big Ten season this Friday in a dual-meet against Wagner at the RU Aquatic Center.
The Seahawks (5-0) have already participated in five competitive meets this season, while the Scarlet Knights have yet to do so. In those five meets, Wagner has won by an average margin of 46.6 points per meet.
The Knights have not swum competitively since February, meaning Wagner is their first real competition not only of the season, but in more than 10 months.
One may think this puts Rutgers at a disadvantage, but senior captain Greta Leberfinger feels differently.
“Absolutely not,” Leberfinger said when asked if the Knights are at a disadvantage. “We are going into our third meet. We have been getting up on the blocks and getting off them faster in races. We are ready to keep getting faster.”
So far this season, Rutgers has raced inter-squad meets as well as the Sonny Werblin Invite, which are not official meets.
Four other schools came to participate at the Sonny Werblin Invite in a tune up meet to see where their swimmers’ and divers’ progression was.
The Knights came away with 12 first places out of the 14 total events. They managed to sweep the top three spots in four of the 12 events.
The relay teams Rutgers sent out performed well and really got the momentum for the team going early. They grabbed the top-two finishes in the 200 and 400 medley relay and a top finish in the 200 free relay.
Head coach Phil Spiniello said it is a goal for his swimmers to keep improving their times in the relays in practice and competitive meets.
Leberfinger had a solid performance last week, finishing first in the 200 breaststroke.
“I think it was a great meet last weekend,” Leberfinger said. “We know it was a great start. It was a good benchmark to see where we are. Every swimmer improved on their times. We are ready.”
Nevertheless, Rutgers takes last week’s performance with a grain of salt and has worked hard to improve and prepare for this week.
“I think that was the first time to see where we were at in the season last week, and we did a good job,” Spiniello said.
With a duel meet, it’s much more fast pace for the swimmers compared to that of meets with multiple schools and multiple heats.
“[I’m] looking forward to see how everyone performs in a duel meet,” senior captain Brogan Lee said. “You have to be supportive of your teammates and be ready to handle what comes.”
Lee is hoping to kick start her senior campaign with a bang.
“I’m hoping to get off on a good start for the season and be able to maintain to it,” she said. “When it comes down to it, I hope to have the best times at the end of the season.”
Spiniello believes his team is ready to compete after waiting all this time for its first competitive meet in months.
“We try to create an environment that is competitive every day, so when its time to compete, we are ready to go,” he said.
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