Rutgers plans to scale back strokes in prep for Big Ten Championship


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Photo by Edwin Gano |

Senior Brogan Lee competes in her final home meet on Saturday. The Knights seek a strong finish prior to the Big Ten Championship meet Feb.18.


As the season comes to a close and the Big Ten Championship meet approaches, the pressure would normally be on.

But for the Rutgers swimming and diving team, their season long training has prepared them for this moment.

Throughout the year, the team has had a regiment set and had not yet committed to resting their bodies and toning practices down until this past week to be ready to go come Feb. 18.

Head coach Phil Spiniello feels that the rest he has given his swimmers will have a major impact on the team and their performances on Saturday.

“I think it has a tremendous impact on the swimming end,” Spiniello said. “We’ve worked hard all year going full steam ahead. We didn’t take any rest for any meets this year, so I think we are putting all our eggs in on the Big Ten Championship meet and that it’s going to pay off.”

Set up as a dress rehearsal 11 days from the Big Ten Championship, the Scarlet Knights take on Georgetown and Providence in what will be their final regular season meet. It’s one day long and will be finished in one session.

The Knights do not plan to overlook their old Big East foes this weekend, knowing each meet they compete in is a great tune-up opportunity for the conference meet.

Spiniello hopes to see some good swims this weekend as they begin this resting process and see some good times come up. He’s also hoping to see excitement out of the team, as the championship meet is an exciting time for the sport.

So far, the rest hasn’t really affected the swimmers. It’s a slow process to recovery and the plan is to be fully recouped come the conference meet.

“I joke everyday at practice about how I never feel it,” said senior Greta Leberfinger. “It’s a slow process and each day I give each practice [my] all. Our bodies are out of whack right now because of how we’ve prepared all year, but I think if we embrace it and the feeling, it will help us come the conference meet.”

Although they started the resting period two weeks before the conference meet, Spiniello, Leberfinger and Brogan Lee don’t expect any season- or personal-bests this week. They anticipate those records to come 11 days later at the Big Ten Championships.

As seniors, Leberfinger and Lee are swimming in their final home and regular season meet of their decorated collegiate careers here at Rutgers. They are just hoping to leave it all in the pool.

“I’m really looking forward to racing my last regular season meet and pushing myself as far as I can and seeing the results afterwards,” Lee said. “You have to go into your races knowing it’s going to be painful, but that you’ve done the work and you’re ready to go.”

After going on the road to the University of New Hampshire last week, Rutgers is excited to be back and competing in its own pool.

Although the swimmers don’t think it matters, competing at the Rutgers Aquatics Center can only help.

“I think the mentality of our team is focusing on the task at hand and doing one thing at a time,” Spiniello said. “We talk a lot about racing in the moment and taking it one practice at a time and one meet at a time, and we aren’t going to look past Georgetown and Providence.”

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Ryan Moran

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