Knights open year with strong showing at home

<p>Junior Mary Moser won three events, which tied for Rutgers’ lead this weekend at the Sony Werblin Invitational.</p>

Junior Mary Moser won three events, which tied for Rutgers’ lead this weekend at the Sony Werblin Invitational.

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.

“I was really happy with the way we started out on Friday and Saturday,” he said. “It’s good to see where we’re at with our swimming and diving right now, and what we need to improve on heading into our dual meet season on Friday.”

Junior Mary Moser and freshman Johanna Wu highlighted the Knights’ play, winning three events each. Freshman Morgan Pfaff followed them up, winning two events.

But the freshman class’s impressive performance comes as no surprise to Spiniello, who believed the freshmen would transition nicely to college swimming.

“I was excited to see the freshmen come out and make an immediate impact,” he said. “I knew they were a strong, versatile group of swimmers. I was impressed with their performance in their first college meet. It’s a sign of good things to come.”

But the divers impressed Spiniello the most, he said. Junior Nicole Scott led the way for the diving team, winning won both the 1-meter and 3-meter events. Sophomore Nicole Honey also contributed impressive dives and already qualified for the Zone Diving Championships.

“I was most impressed by the divers’ performance on the board,” Spiniello said. “It was a really dominating performance on the boards this past weekend.”

Of the seven teams that participated in the Sony Werblin Invitational, four were college teams and three were club teams. Spiniello believes playing against a wide variety of teams and athletes was good preparation for the season ahead.

“It was good competition,” Spiniello said. “It’s who we need to be competing against right now to get us prepared for our dual meet season ahead of us.”

Rutgers’ next meet takes place Friday when it faces Wagner in a dual meet at 4 p.m. at the Rutgers Aquatic Center. The Knights will learn from their performance this weekend to improve for the meet, Spiniello said.

“We have to work on the details of our swimming and diving, and really cleaning out some starts and turns,” he said. “I think everyone walked away with something they need to work on during the course of this week.”

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