Rutgers divers finish strong at Frank Elm Invite
In the Frank Elm Invitational from Friday through Sunday, the Rutgers swimming and diving team snagged a third-place finish, with 1,085 points out of the 13 teams competing.
Northeastern, with 1,533 points, and Navy, with 1,284 points, took the top-two spots, respectively, at the RU Aquatic Center.
“I’m very happy with how we did this weekend,” said head coach Phil Spiniello. “I’m happy with our placing, our times, our diving. We had a lot of season best times as well as lifetime bests. We are headed in the right direction.”
Throughout the three days, the Scarlet Knights had some standout performances.
Freshman diver Addison Walkowiak broke Rutgers’ 1-meter diving record with a score of 304.7, breaking former Knight Nicole Scott’s mark of 302.7. Walkowiak also took first place in the 3-meter dive.
Sophomore Alyssa Black also stood out, taking second in the 3-meter dive and third in the 1-meter dive.
With such an impressive performance from two of the team’s three divers, diving coach Fred Woodruff was fired up.
“I am thrilled with what we did this weekend,” Woodruff said. “This is like a benchmark where we try to get an idea of where we are and where we expect to be in February. This is huge.”
Walkowiak and Black qualified for the NCAA Zone Championships in March with their performances.
The Knights had some more standouts throughout the meet.
In the 400-yard medley relay, the team of senior Greta Leberfinger and juniors Joanna Wu, Morgan Pfaff and Sarah Coyne finished third in the heat, posting a final time of 3:45.86, about one second behind Northeastern’s first-place quartet.
Leberfinger recorded two fourth-place finishes on the weekend, including the 100 breaststroke at a time of 1:03.73 and the 200 breaststroke with a time of 2:17.16.
Pfaff added a fourth-place finish in the 200 individual medley with a season-best time of 2:03.08 and came in fifth place in the 200 butterfly with a time of 2:05.08.
In the final day of competition, freshman Emily Erwin kicked off the night for Rutgers with a second-place finish in the 1650 freestyle.
Wu finished third in the 200 backstroke with a time of 2:02:82, adding to her second-place finish in the 200 freestyle with a time of 1:52:42 the day prior.
With Rutgers coming into the meet with a two-week break, Spiniello felt as though the Knights had their best performance.
With the meet spanning three days and six sessions in total, it impressed Spiniello that much more.
“[Keeping] our focus over six sessions is a part of the sport,” Spiniello said. “We just have to stay focused and we have to practice it for the Big Ten Championships, which is why we have meets like this.”
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