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Swimming and Diving: Relay team highlights Big East?Championships

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.

Freshman Joanna Wu, sophomore Greta Leberfinger and juniors Mary Moser and Brittany Guinee were featured on that unit, a combination head coach Phil Spiniello was proud of at the end of the race.

“There were some great splits from the women on that relay,” Spiniello said. “They were big points and everyone stepped up on the relays, which has been a goal on mine for the past few years.”

Rutgers grabbed early points in the first two days of competition at the Big East Championships with help from its other relay teams.

The Knights took a pair of fourth-place finishes in the 200-meter medley relay and 200-meter freestyle relay events.

With the exception of Moser, who competed in both races, each team consisted entirely of different athletes in both races.

The relays emphasized the depth of the Knights’ roster, as the squads consisted of athletes who also placed well in their individual events.

Wu scored as high as fourth in one of her individual races, while Leberfinger led the Knights in the 200-meter breaststroke.

Moser placed ninth in the 50-meter freestyle events and was the only Rutgers swimmer to break the top 10 in that event.

The relays played a major role in meets during the regular season, as they would often begin a day’s competition and provided the first opportunity for scoring.

In a quad meet Feb. 9, Rutgers grabbed an early lead with a victory in the 200-meter freestyle relay against Georgetown, Villanova and Seton Hall.

A second squad followed up with a third-place finish in the same event to help the Knights take two podium spots.

Rutgers nearly mounted a large comeback with a second-place finish in the 400-meter freestyle relay to finish just more than a second behind the Wildcats.

The performance led Spiniello to believe the team was ready for the Big East Championships.

In three of the Knights’ final four meets leading up to the championships, a relay squad began the competition with a first-place finish.

In its most dominant performance of the season, Rutgers had a 1-2 finish from its two squads in the 200-meter medley relay on Dec. 1 against George Washington and Old Dominion.

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