February 23, 2019 | 45° F

Grusova, Stoppa to lead Rutgers at ACC/Big Ten Challenge


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Photo by Jeffrey Gomez |

This weekend from Saturday, Nov. 10 to Sunday, Nov. 11, the Rutgers swimming and diving team will be participating in the ACC/Big Ten Challenge. 

The meet will take place at Purdue’s Morgan J. Burke Aquatic Center. With a total of 25 schools in attendance and represented by 160 swimmers and 40 divers, this large event will be fascinating to watch.

Two Scarlet Knights have been selected to face off in the challenge this weekend — senior Francesca Stoppa and freshman Terka Grusova. The duo will be racing in Big Ten relays and will get the chance to score individual points for themselves as well.

Stoppa will be racing in the 200-yard butterfly, while Grusova will be racing in the 100-yard backstroke. These events should come naturally to these swimmers, as they are their strongest strokes.

"The game plan is the same as any other meet," said head coach Jon Maccoll. 

With this mindset, Grusova has stated how to do even better than she is doing right now, and that she needs to work on her turns.

Stoppa has already qualified for the NCAA Championships in the 100- and 200-yard butterfly after putting up three event wins between the two strokes this season.

“From a time standpoint we're going to be suiting this meet. Those technical suits make a pretty significant difference. I would hope those times were faster than we're seeing this season,” Maccoll said.

Compared to other meets where there are not as many players on display, this will be an exciting performance since there will not be this many players together until later this season at the Big Ten Championships. 

Even with the enormity of the situation, the expectations are the same for Maccoll.

"We want to go out and race our best race. We want to do the things we're doing in practice, we want to see that translate in the meet and hopefully that process will see good results,” Maccoll said.

One player to look out for in this meet is the Big Ten Swimmer of the Year Lilly King. Last season, King won All-American honors at the NCAA Championships, was the Big Ten Female Athlete of the Year and was most recently named Big Ten Swimmer of the Week. 

Another swimmer to look out for in the pool this weekend is the Big Ten Swimmer of the Championships, Beata Nelson from Wisconsin, who qualified for three individual A events for the NCAA Championships in the past. 

In comparison to other swimmers in the pool this weekend, she specializes in all four strokes. This specialization makes her quite a challenge since she can be utilized in all types of races. Her success has helped her secure records in all four strokes throughout her swimming career.

"We're preparing to race smart and fast. It's an early opportunity to wear the tech suits and really throw down a quick time. Our women are proud to represent their school and conference while showing what they can do when the midseason invitationals and championship events come around later in the season," Maccoll said.


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


Alec Spector

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