July 21, 2019 | 92° F

Rutgers set for Big Ten Swimming Championships

Photo by Dimitri Rodriguez |

Sophomore and Italy-native Francesca Stoppa is seeded seventh in both the 100 and 200 butterfly events at Big Ten Championships. Both of her times in those events are NCAA “B” cuts.

The Rutgers swimming and diving team is getting ready for the 2017 Big Ten Championships this week. The team has prepared all season for its biggest meet of the year and the Scarlet Knights are hoping for strong performances from all of their athletes.

Rutgers will travel from New Jersey all the way to West Lafayette, Indiana, with events held Wednesday, Feb. 15 through Saturday, Feb. 18 with finals slated to begin at 6:30 p.m. on those days.

In last year's Big Ten Championships, the Knights came in 10th place and had five top-eight finishes, including two program record-breaking performances from then-freshman Francesca Stoppa and then-junior Rachel Stoddard.

Rutgers' season debut dates back to early October, when it went to Fort Meyers, Florida for the Florida Gulf Coast University Classic. It racked up 364 points, finishing in sixth.

The Knights are coming off two weeks of preparation after defeating Richmond, 190-103, in their last dual-meet of the season. The win capped off both a strong season for Rutgers and a bittersweet farewell for the senior members of the team on Senior Day.

The Knights are saying goodbye to five senior members of the team, swimmers Chantal Asselin, Barbra Brottman, Meghan Kiely and Rachel Stoddard, along with diver Alyssa Black.

This will be head coach Petra Martin’s second time bringing Rutgers to the Big Ten Championships. In her first year as head coach, three team members qualified for NCAA Championships and six school records were broken.

Meanwhile, Fred Woodruff will be capping off his 24th season as head diving coach for the Scarlet Knights.

Overall, two athletes have received three Big Ten Swimmer/Diver of the Week awards this season, one in late November for the Czech Republic native and sophomore Vera Koprivova while junior diver Addison Walkowiak earned Diver of the Week honors twice.

Koprivova earned her award after three first-place finishes and breaking a pool record at the Frank Elm Invitational.

Additionally, Koprivova’s time of 1:54.49 in the 200 backstroke is currently third in the Big Ten in that event.

Walkowiak claimed her titles two weeks apart, the first on Jan. 18, followed by the second just 10 days later, on Jan. 28. Walkowiak had two first-place dives against Penn State and Yale, and also broke school records in the 1-meter and 3-meter dives against Richmond.

Walkowiak’s 1-meter and 3-meter dives are currently seventh and eighth in the conference respectively.

Rutgers owns eight NCAA B cuts split among four athletes heading into this week’s championships, with three of them being among the top eight in the conference.

The Knights also hold NCAA Zone qualifying marks in both the 1-meter and 3-meter dives, off the performances of Walkowiak, Black and sophomore Rachel Byrne.

After Big Ten’s Championship, Rutgers will head up to West Point, New York, for the Army West Point Invitational on Feb. 25-26.

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

Coby Green

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