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Medley win serves as goal at Big East Champs

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. Spiniello plugged her into both 200- and 400-yard medley relays this season, and the veteran enjoyed success. The Knights’ last meet against Fordham and Rider resulted in a 200-yard medley first-place finish.

The senior competed in the 100- and 200-yard backstroke events, as well. Spiniello called her one of the most versatile swimmers on the team.

While Lindblad enjoys competing in every event in which Spiniello places her, her focus for this year’s Big East Championships is on the medley relay. Rutgers finished sixth last season in the race, a finish Lindblad wants to improve on.

“My freshman year, we placed third in this event,” Lindblad said. “With the times we’ve been putting up so far and the energy that we can bring to that relay, I think we can be back in the top three again.”

Spiniello believes her goal is reachable because of the way she performed this season.

“She is really going to have an impact as far as points go for our team,” Spiniello said. “She is setting herself up to be an impact scorer for the team.”

Not only is the medley relay Lindblad’s best event, but it is also her favorite. The four-swimmer team race displays her will to help make her team become successful.

“It is nice that I can be here to support my teammates and set an example for the underclassmen,” Lindblad said. “I’ve tried to use my actions to show the younger girls how to have fun but at the same time to get work done and swim well.”

While Lindblad’s leadership this year is evident, competing for the Knights comes with pain. A back injury she sustained at the beginning of the season has not made it easy for Lindblad, Spiniello said. But Lindblad knows the team needs her on form.

“She hasn’t let it [affect her],” Spiniello said. “She has battled through it for her and the program.”

With less than a month left in her final year on the team, Lindblad worked hard to finish her last season strong.

“After last season, we were very focused on improving because we knew we had it in us,” Lindblad said. “We set some pretty big goals for our team, and we’ve accomplished them.”

Lindblad wants to finish her career on a high note. She has the opportunity next weekend in Pittsburgh for the league championships.

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