September 19, 2019 | 52° F

Divers set early tone for season

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. Honey, Kearney and Scott have also been selected to compete in the Zone Diving Championships.

“They’re off to a great start,” said head coach Phil Spiniello. “They’ve showed solid improvement through the first couple of meets, and it’s a sign of good things to come.”

In the season-opening Sonny Werblin Invitational on Oct. 19 and 20, Scott stole the show for the diving squad, winning both the 1- and 3-meter dives. Honey followed Scott, finishing second in both events.

Honey and Scott reversed outcomes in Rutgers’ second meet against Wagner, when Honey won both events on the day and Scott finished second in both.

Spiniello believes the divers’ strong performance this year is important to the whole team.

“It’s a combined sport of swimming and diving,” he said. “We rely on the diving point, not only in dual meets and invitationals, but also in the Big East Championship meet. They’re a very important factor in our program.”

Spiniello attributes the divers’ improvement to diving coach Fred Woodruff, who has been with Rutgers for 20 years.

“He’s really done a nice job of continuing to improve divers from the time they arrive on campus to the time they graduate,” Spiniello said. “He’s had success the whole time he’s been here. He has a great track record of improving divers throughout their career here at Rutgers.”

Chemistry is another factor this season in the divers’ performance. The quartet is very close, Spiniello said, and have a practice style that allows them to have fun, as well as improve their skills.

“I think [having fun] is important, and definitely has an impact,”  Spiniello said. “Fred and Katie Robinson, the other assistant in the program, and I all set the tone of working hard and also having fun, and I think that’s what makes our program separate [from others].”

Spiniello has both reasonable and lofty goals for the divers for the remainder of the season.

“For the divers, our next goal would be to continue to gain valuable points throughout the dual meet season,” Spiniello said. “A realistic goal would be to have all four divers score points at the Big East Championship meet.

For updates on the Rutgers swimming and diving team, follow Mike Morton on Twitter @MortonTargum.

By Mike Morton

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