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The Rutgers swimming and diving team solidified its goal this season with its fifth-place finish at last week’s Big East Championships. With a 9-2 regular season record, the Scarlet Knights proved to be a well-balanced team.
One aspect the Knights could count on consistently was from relay relay squads. That unit peaked at the right time with school records in the 400-meter medley relay at the Big East Championships.
The Rutgers swimming and diving team placed fifth at the Big East Championships this weekend with a total score of 410.50 points. The Scarlet Knights improved their point total from last year’s event by 163, when they finished in eighth. “I couldn’t be prouder of how the women performed in getting top five,” said head coach Phil Spiniello. “That was our goal all year long as a program — to improve upon our finish of last year, to be a top-five program in the Big East.”
Joanna Wu finished sixth in her event at the Big East?Championships.
The Rutgers swimming and diving team travels to Indianapolis tomorrow to compete in the Big East Championships. The meet is the most important competition of the season for the Scarlet Knights and has been on the minds of coaches and athletes throughout the year. Every competition during the regular season is spent attempting to qualify or improve seeding times for the meet. These championships can potentially define careers.
Senior Taylor Zafir enters the Big East Championships hoping for a top-eight finish in the 400-meter individual medley event. She has won the event in her final two regular season meets.
The Rutgers swimming and diving team finished the regular season with a 9-2 record with wins against two Big East schools. The final home meet was on Senior Day for the Scarlet Knights’ two captains. But that would not stop freshman Joanna Wu from taking her share of the spotlight. The Kent, Wash., native arrived at Rutgers this year after swimming for four years at Kent-Meridian (Wash.) High School. She qualified for the Washington state championships each season and was named the team’s MVP three times.
Freshman Joanna Wu will participate in the three events from Wednesday to Saturday in the Big East Championships.
As junior Olivia Harry of the Rutgers swimming and diving team enters her first Big East Championships, she sits in an established role on the Scarlet Knights’ diving squad. Harry has made progress in her first year of diving in competition, and has become a prominent scorer with the increase in opportunities. She took third place in the 3-meter dive Jan. 26 against Fordham and Rider and was given what senior co-caption described as ‘hero of the day’ honors.
Sophomore Nicole Honey enters the Big East Championships with momentum for the Rutgers swimming and diving team. She has put together a consistent regular season for the Scarlet Knights’ diving squad and is primed to finish at her peak. Honey collected Big East Athlete of the Week honors after her performance Feb. 8 at home against Georgetown, Villanova and Seton Hall. “Her training over the course of the season is starting to show up to her capability,” said head coach Phil Spiniello.
Nicole Honey was named Big East Athlete of the Week, as she continues to be the Knights’ most reliable diver off the boards.
Senior co-captain Taylor Zafir stood up for a ceremony honoring her and two teammates Saturday as part of the Rutgers swimming and diving team’s Senior Day. Her mother was in attendance after flying in from Chicago to watch Zafir compete at home for the final time. For Zafir, it was a surreal feeling of accomplishment. “It was a monumental moment. Even going back to my freshman year, I always thought, ‘four years is so long, it’ll take forever to get there to be done,’” Zafir said. “Now the fact that it was my last home meet swimming at Rutgers, it was definitely bittersweet.”
Senior co-captain Taylor Zafir swam in her final home meet Sunday as she and two teammates were honored on Senior Day. Zafir took on a larger leadership role this season.
The Rutgers swimming and diving team took two wins Saturday in its final meet before the Big East Championships. The Scarlet Knights defeated Georgetown, 287-66, and Seton Hall, 134-33, but lost to Villanova, 179-173. The Knights finished the regular season 9-2 overall, with both of its defeats coming by a mere 36 points. The loss should not undermine Rutgers’ impressive performance against conference foes this late in the season.
Freshman Joanna Wu helped the Rutgers swimming diving team capture victories in the 200-meter medley and freestyle medley. Wu also placed first in the 200-meter freestyle and 100-meter backstroke.
The Rutgers swimming and diving team faces its first Big East competition today when it hosts Georgetown, Seton Hall and Villanova in its final home meet of the season. The quad meet, originally scheduled for October, was postponed because of Hurricane Sandy. It now acts as a primer for the upcoming Big East Championships and will give an indication of where the Scarlet Knights stand in the conference. “It’s going to be very important to get this quad meet in for a better understanding of where we are swimming-wise and diving-wise for when we go into the Big East Championships,” said senior co-captain Katie Kearney.
Rutgers head diving coach Fred Woodruff continues to prepare his unit for the final stretch of the season, which includes the Big East and Zone Diving Championships. Although the two most crucial meets for the Scarlet Knights still lie ahead, Woodruff, the longest-tenured coach on staff, brings experience that can help the team remain focused.
The Rutgers diving team has been successful this season, much of which can be attributed to the leadership of senior co-captain Katie Kearney. Kearney leads a Scarlet Knights diving unit that has established a clear identity as it works toward next month’s Big East Championships. The road to her senior year has not been as smooth. Entering the season, everything surrounding Kearney’s role on the team was uncertain. She underwent shoulder surgery last spring, which put her in a sling for three weeks with a recovery process to follow.
The Rutgers swimming and diving team started its season with a 7-1 dual- and tri-meet record and has shown consistency along the way. The diving team best exemplifies that consistency, so much so that it invokes a sense of déjà vu. The Scarlet Knights have swept the 1-meter dive in all but one meet so far this season.
Junior Olivia Harry clinched a spot in next month’s Big East Championships under diving coach Fred Woodruff in her first full year diving.
The Rutgers swimming and diving team earned two victories Saturday at the RU Aquatic Center, defeating Fordham and Rider in a tri-meet. The Scarlet Knights beat Rider, 219-75, and Fordham, 162-132, a team head coach Phil Spiniello said can win the Atlantic 10 Conference this season. The team bounced back quickly after suffering its first loss of the season Jan. 19 against James Madison.