July 22, 2018 | ° F

Knights host 13-team field at Frank Elm Invitational

Photo by Edwin Gano |

Junior swimmer Morgan Pfaff said Rutgers is ready for the gap in time between heats entering 13-team weekend invite.

The Rutgers swimming and diving team looks to continue its hot streak and extend its four-meet winning streak this weekend when the Scarlet Knights take part in the Frank Elm Invite at the Rutgers Aquatic Center.

A total of thirteen teams, including the Knights (4-0), will be competing Friday through Sunday. 

They will face off against Columbia (0-2), Central Connecticut (3-2), Long Island University Post (3-2), Northeastern (3-2), University of New Hampshire (2-2), Navy (5-2), Idaho (3-4), James Madison (4-3), St. Peters (5-0), Sacred Heart (1-3), The College of New Jersey (2-2) and for a second time this season, Wagner (8-1). The only blemish on Wagner’s record being the loss at the hands of Rutgers. 

For the first time in a young season, the Knights will take part in a meet that ranges three days, with preliminary races in the morning each day that will take roughly two and a half hours, followed by a return to pool later that night to participate in the finals of each event that ranges for two hours. The invite entails the most swimmers and divers they will see on the regular season.

The days will feel long will the different events and amount of swimmers who need to participate in them. It is going to test the team’s patience, but in junior Morgan Pfaff’s mind, they Knights are ready for it.

“We keep it composed very well because we come in knowing all the hard work that we did and we’re ready to go,” Pfaff said. “It’s grueling, hard and tough, but you have to have that mentality going in to know you have to fight on the last day.”

When encountering a lengthy wait in a heat, a swimmer must remain prepared and not lose their concentration. The later meets are where swimmers strive to be because those are the faster heats, which in turn means they must wait a longer period of time to race.

“You have to be ready, mentally from warm ups and you have to know that you will be in this race, when you go,” Joanna Wu said. “When it comes down to it, I have to shut everything else down and be ready to go.”

Head coach Phil Spiniello is impressed with what he has seen from his swimmers and divers, but like any coach, he is not satisfied and thirsts to get the best out of his athletes.

“I want to see our season times to be the best of the season so far,” Spiniello said. “It's how the season plan is put together so far that at this point in November, we are doing our best and keep improving.”

With the last two weeks off, the Knights have been honing in on the little things to improve their technique and become more efficient in the pool.

In their mind, efficiency in what they do is the key to the time they finish at and the place that they earn.

“Coming in everyday at practice and giving 100 percent is what I do,” Pfaff said of becoming more efficient. “Asking coach, the little things I can work on, also helps m\e to get better. You have to put in more work than others are willing to put in to improve upon yourself.”

Rutgers' focus week in and week out is the Big Ten Championships in February.

“This is a dress rehearsal and will be the best opportunity all year,” Spiniello said. 

For updates on the Rutgers swimming and diving team, follow @TargumSports for updates.

Ryan Moran

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