Rutgers has strong showing over weekend in Texas and Princeton


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Photo by Dimitri Rodriguez |

The Rutgers swimming and diving team continued its 2017-18 season with a trip to Austin for the Texas Invitational. That was not the only event the team had this weekend, as the Scarlet Knights also traveled to Princeton for the Big Al Open. 

In Texas, junior swimmer Vera Koprivova had several strong performances throughout the weekend. On Thursday, she won the D Final and placed 25th overall in the 500 yard freestyle. In the 200-yard backstroke, she swam in the A Final and placed sixth in a pool of 48 with a time of 1:55.48. 

On the final day of the event, she won her C Final in the 400-yard individual with a time of 4:17.96, before placing 13th overall in the 100-yard backstroke on the back of her time of 54.31 in the B Final.

Koprivova has been a key part of the team this entire season, and the Texas Invitational was no exception. 

Other standout performances in Texas came from junior swimmer Francesca Stoppa and sophomore swimmer Federica Greco. 

At the esteemed event, Stoppa placed 11th overall in the 100-yard butterfly, finishing in third place in the B Final with an NCAA B-Cut mark of 53.17 seconds. She also competed in the 200-yard butterfly, finishing eighth in a pool of 40 and clocked in an NCAA B standard of 1:58.13.

Meanwhile, Greco won the C Final in the 100-yard butterfly with her own NCAA B standard of 53.87. Greco also posted a good time in the 200-yard individual medley preliminaries before placing in 23rd after the C Final. Greco’s mark of 2:01.26 is her fastest career mark and is the second fastest all-time for Rutgers, trailing only record-holder Morgan Pfaff’s mark of 1:58.46.

Overall, the Texas Invitational was a successful affair for the Knights, as they posted fast times and proved that they were certainly not out of their depth.

In Princeton, senior diver Addison Walkowiak had a phenomenal diving performance, breaking the one-meter diving school record twice in the same day with a score of 327.45 in the preliminaries and a 332.15 in the finals, which led to her winning the event. 

Overall, Rutgers had a dominating performance in the event, with junior diver Rachel Byrne finishing second and freshman diver Lauren Boones securing seventh place. The next day, Walkowiak proved victorious in three-meter diving with a score of 286.45.

“She had a great weekend. Her one meter was steller,” said interim head coach Fred Woodruff. “She really dove up a storm. The coaches were buzzing about her performance. It was the best one meter I have ever seen her do. It bodes well for the future.”

In terms of other standout performances at the event, sophomore Francesca Bertotto was the sole swimmer who participated in Princeton this weekend, and she certainly left an impression. After receiving the one seed in the 500-yard freestyle, Bertotto won the event in the A final with a career-best time of 4:46.16. 

The time is also the second best time in Knights history, trailing only Hall of Famer Kelly Harrigan’s time of 4:43.69.

“She really did a great job,” Woodruff said. “I’m not a swimming coach so I’m not the best judge for her. But I was super impressed by her 500 meter. It was tough for her since she was unable to return to the hotel and had to sit in the stands, but she showed great resilience, even though she was unable to swim her fastest time.”

Overall, Rutgers had a strong performance on both the board and in the pool 1700 miles apart this weekend.

The Knights will hold its next event at home, hosting Yale on Jan. 12 at the Rutgers Aquatic Center.

“I thought it was a great way to finish the first semester,” Woodruff said. “They competed really well. I really feel these kinds of meets prepare you for the end of the year."


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Ian Quinn

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