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No one ever would have guessed three years ago that senior captain Taylor Zafir’s career would end up where it has. After a rough two years to start her career with the Rutgers swimming and diving team, which saw her redshirt her freshman year because of an injury, Zafir’s outlook on swimming changed with the hiring of head coach Phil Spiniello. “Looking back four years, there were times where I didn’t want to finish swimming and to be really truly enjoying it again, that’s what I’m most proud of,” Zafir said.
The Rutgers swimming and diving team entered the 2012-2013 season with momentum, breezing by the competition in its first two meets. The divers’ performance has been one of many bright spots for the Scarlet Knights early, winning every event they have participated in through the first two meets. All four of the Knights' divers — senior captain Katie Kearney, juniors Olivia Harry and Nicole Scott and sophomore Nicole Honey — have already qualified for the Big East Championships.
The Rutgers swimming and diving team splashed into action this weekend when it opened the season with the annual Sony Werblin Invitational. The Scarlet Knights played host to seven teams that traveled to the Rutgers Aquatic Center to participate in the event. The Knights earned 15 first-place finishes at the invitational, including winning all four relay events. The results have head coach Phil Spiniello feeling optimistic about the upcoming season.
Junior Mary Moser won three events, which tied for Rutgers’ lead this weekend at the Sony Werblin Invitational.
While the platform event was not familiar for the Rutgers diving team this season, it proved the Scarlet Knights’ most successful dive at last week’s NCAA Zone A Diving Championships in Buffalo, N.Y. Nicole Scott led the way for the Knights in the event. The sophomore totaled 255.95 points in the preliminary rounds of the platform dive and 267.05 points in her finals performance.
Sophomore diver Nicole Scott totaled 523.00 points last week at the NCAA?Zone A Championships, giving her a second-place finish in the platform dive in the Buffalo, N.Y., meet.
While it has been nearly a month since Nicole Scott last competed on the boards, the sophomore diver was thankful for the practice time it gave her and her teammates. “I think it actually helped us this year because at [the Big East Championships] we all did really well,” Scott said. “But there were things we needed to fix, so this has given us time to focus on the details of our dives and try and get them completely solid.”
Sophomore diver Nicole Scott, who finished eighth in the 3-meter at the Big East Championships, prepares for her possible season finale tomorrow at the Zone?Diving Championships.
The 1,650-yard freestyle was one of the most physically grueling events for the Rutgers swimming and diving team this year. The first-place finisher’s time in the race at the Big East Championships was 16:13.94. Nicknamed by head coach Phil Spiniello as “the mile,” the race takes patience, determination and endurance, he said. So it was not a surprise when Spiniello chose senior Michelle Berman to complete the challenge for the Scarlet Knights.
The Rutgers swimming and diving team received exactly what it
needed to succeed when its divers placed third at the Big East
Championships. But its swimmers could not take advantage of the
position they received from their teammates. The Scarlet Knights
placed eighth out of 11 teams at Trees Pool in Pittsburgh this
weekend, failing to improve on last year’s seventh-place finish at
Senior Jacquelyn Ward was part of a Rutgers 800-yard freestyle
medley that placed eighth on the first day of the Big East
Rutgers head swimming and diving coach Phil Spiniello could not
ask for a better position for his team today as it begins the
swimming portion of the Big East Championships. Sophomore Nicole
Scott placed in the top 10 in both 1- and 3-meter dives. The divers
returned last weekend with a third-place finish — what the Scarlet
Knights needed to improve on their seventh-place finish a year ago
in the championships.
Senior swimmer Trisha Averill and the Knights compete at the Big
East Championships through the weekend, capping off their divers’
third-place finish to begin the conference finale.
The Rutgers diving team took to the waters of the Big East
Championships in Pittsburgh with one goal in mind — provide as much
momentum as it could when the swimmers enter the pool. The Scarlet
Knights did more than that when they arrived home with a
third-place finish. The result puts the swimmers in a great
position when they enter this weekend’s swimming portion of the
Sophomore diver Nicole Scott takes the platform during a fall
practice at the RU?Aquatic Center. Scott finished sixth in the 1
meter Friday at the Big East Diving Championships and took ninth
place with her 246.70 consolation score. Rutgers captured third
Everything the Rutgers diving team worked toward throughout the
past year is on display today and Saturday, when it competes in the
Big East Championships in Pittsburgh. The job is diving coach Fred
Woodruff’s to see that the Scarlet Knights improve from last
seasons’ fourth-place finish in the same competition. With more
than a week between the last Rutgers meet and the championships,
the divers worked on their techniques to give them a better chance
on the boards.
Sophomore diver Nicole Scott finished first in the Knights’ last
two meets this season in the 3-meter dive. She leads Rutgers today
In any sport, consistency is a focal point coaches look for in
their athletes. Rutgers head swimming and diving coach Phil
Spiniello sees that characteristic in senior Brianne Lindblad. “I
know what I’m getting when I put her in an event,” Spiniello said.
“She’s reliable, passionate and has a lot of determination for this
team.” That determination aided Lindblad in her final year
competing for the Scarlet Knights.
The “No running on the pool deck” sign that hangs on the wall of
the Sonny Werblin Recreation Center might as well be in Latin for
Rutgers swimming and diving coach Phil Spiniello. He tends to do
the opposite as he roots for every swimmer all the way to the
finish. The second-year head coach credits the energy to his older
sister and his habit of jumping into the pool and compete every
time his team cuts through the water.
Senior captain Trisha Averill, who owns Rutgers’ school record
in the 200-yard breaststroke, is one of many swimmers who endorse
head coach Phil Spiniello’s energetic coaching style. With swimmers
like Averill, Spiniello guided the Scarlet Knights to seven more
wins in his second season.