Veteran leadership showcases in opener

<p>Senior Allyson Perrotti captured the 400 individual medley against Wagner last weekend at the RU Aquatic Center.</p>

Senior Allyson Perrotti captured the 400 individual medley against Wagner last weekend at the RU Aquatic Center.

The Rutgers swimming and diving team entered the new season facing high expectations.

Two events into their campaign, the Scarlet Knights proved they are up to the task.

The Knights posted several top-five finishes Oct. 19 in the Sonny Werblin Invitational. Rutgers most recently won its first dual meet of the season last Friday, defeating visiting Wagner, 181-119 at the Rutgers Aquatic Center.

The Seahawks (6-1) entered the event unbeaten and provided an early test for the Knights, but Rutgers captured 12 of the 16 events to continue its impressive start to the season.

“I think we’re off to a solid start,” said head coach Phil Spiniello. “I think we have some areas we can improve upon. We can continue to work on and improve a lot of things as we gear up for the upcoming meets.”

Senior diver Nicole Scott is among the Knights top performers so far.

The captain was one of four Knights to win two events against the Seahawks, claiming first place in both the 1-meter and 3-meter dive with scores of 295.65 and 320.86. The Toronto native also won both of those events at the Werblin Invite.

“I think at this point in the season I’m diving the best that I have in my four years here. … So it’s really exciting,” Scott said.

Senior Brittany Guinee, junior Greta Leberfinger and senior Mary Moser were the other three Knights to win two of their events against Wagner.

Leberfinger claimed first in both the 100 and 200 breaststroke. Guinee won the 100 and 200 butterfly, while Moser finished first in both the 50 and 100 freestyle.

Sophomore Joanna Wu and senior Allyson Perrotti also placed first. Wu won the 200-yard backstroke, and Perrotti finished at the top in the 400-yard I.M.

Despite her strong season start, Perrotti said she is nowhere near her best times yet.

“We just got back in shape a couple of weeks ago,” Perrotti said. “Our training has been really tough lately so our times don’t really reflect that right now because we are all really tired. But we get a little bit of rest in November for the Frank Elm Meet [Nov. 24-26], so there should be a lot of time drops from me and a lot of my teammates.”

While the Knights fix some of the rust that naturally appears during the beginning of a season, the strong performances give just a small dose of the team’s full potential.

With the team continuing to work on the details of its swims, the squad’s abilities could be frightening later.

“Winning is always a good sign,” Spiniello said. “More importantly, we’re putting in the necessary work to be successful throughout this season and most importantly at the AAC Championship meet and the NCAA meet, which is our focus as a team.”

For updates on the Rutgers swimming and diving team, follow @TargumSports on Twitter.

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