Rutgers places second in Virginia Tech tri-meet
The Rutgers swimming and diving team wrapped up its final tri-meet of the season this weekend. The Scarlet Knights placed second among two Atlantic Coast Conference (ACC) opponents — just behind Virginia Tech and outscoring Cincinnati.
The three-team meet, which occurred on Jan. 20-21 in Christiansburg, Virginia, was the second in two weeks for Rutgers.
The Knights easily outscored the Bearcats, 223-130, but came up short against the Hokies, 191-157.
“We were good,” said head coach Petra Martin. “Our first day was very good, the second was a little bit more inconsistent but still pretty strong. I think showing up and pushing through and fighting against two very strong teams was good and looked very tough. It was a good sign as we are getting closer to championships.”
After the first day of matchups, the Knights almost doubled Cincinnati, 109-58, and were in a close race with Virginia Tech, only down by 19 points, 93-74.
“We need to get better moving from one day to another, staying little more consistent on that second day,” Martin said. “Championships are four days of competing, so we are going to have to make sure that we are getting up every day and attacking the same way."
Rutgers came into the matchup with the Big Ten Diver of the Week, junior Addison Walkowiak, riding a hot streak.
Walkowiak placed first in the 3-meter dive with a score of 331.90 and third in the 1-meter dive with a 296.70. Both dives were National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) Zone qualifying marks.
Also placing third in the 3-meter dive was senior Alyssa Black with a 292.55, while sophomore Rachel Byrne finished sixth with a time of 280.60. Both of their scores were NCAA Zone qualifying marks.
Senior Rachel Stoddard finished first in the 100 breaststroke with a time of 1:02.92, which was just off a NCAA B cut. Stoddard also contributed a second-place finish in the 200 breaststroke with a 2:06.22.
“I’m very happy with how I swam. My times weren’t my fastest, but how I swam and my strategy was where I wanted it to be,” Stoddard said.
Martin said he saw some strong performances both off the diving boards and in the pool swimming.
“I was really happy to see Rachel Stoddard go down with a lot faster dives than last weekend and be very consistent with her performances," he said.
The Knights provided a first-place finish in the 400-medley relay with sophomore Vera Koprivova, Stoddard, sophomore Francesca Stoppa and freshman Alexandra Fabugais-Inaba finishing in 3:46.85.
“We felt really good,” said Stoddard. “It was helpful prep for Big Ten's and how we need to handle it, so I thought we handled it very well. The process of traveling, having our bodies run down and then still stepping up and swimming fast is something we need to focus on."
In other relay action, Rutgers finished third in the 200-medley after Koprivova, Stoddard, Stoppa and freshman Vanessa Ruiz hit the wall in 1:46.07.
Koprivova, an international student from the Czech Republic, came in first for Rutgers in the 200-meter backstroke with a time of 1:59.37, while Stoppa, a student from Italy, finished first in the 200-meter butterfly in 2:02.65.
“I was happy with my swim on Friday,” Koprivova said. “I was able to break my personal best on the 200 backstroke, which makes me very happy. With the relay, I still have things to work on in this event in order to prepare for Big Ten’s.”
Freshman Federica Greco made her collegiate debut this weekend, contributing a fourth-place finish in the 200-meter butterfly at 2:04.66.
Rutgers has its final dual meet of the season this weekend, as it hosts Richmond at the Rutgers Aquatics Center on Jan. 28. After that, it is two weeks of training to prepare for the Big Ten Championships hosted by Purdue, starting Feb.15.
“We are going to get a little more rest over the next couple of weeks, kind of change gears towards the championship segment that’s going to come,” Martin said.
For updates on the Rutgers swimming and diving team, follow @TargumSports on Twitter.