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RU prepares for home invite

<p>Sophomore Joanna Wu earned one of her three first-place finishes this season Nov. 8 in the 1,000-meter freestyle.</p>

Sophomore Joanna Wu earned one of her three first-place finishes this season Nov. 8 in the 1,000-meter freestyle.

Season-best times are expected for the Rutgers swimming and diving team as it prepares to host the Frank Elm Invite at the Rutgers Aquatic Center this weekend.

The Scarlet Knights (4-0) have had a strong start into the season, most recently avenging last year’s defeat to long-time rival Villanova on Nov. 9.

The older swimmers look stronger than years past, and the freshman swimmers and divers have impressed.

With a week off to prepare for the invite, head coach Phil Spiniello believes the meet will give the team a better understanding of its progress while approaching the season’s midpoint.

“I think this weekend will be a great indication of where we’re at in our season training,” Spiniello said. “It should give us some insight on what we need to work on as we hit December and January in preparation for the AAC championship meet.”

The Knights finished second in last season’s invite behind Villanova (3-5) and will meet the Wildcats again, hoping for a different outcome this time around.

Army (2-2), Drexel (4-2), Wagner (8-1) and West Chester (3-1) will also be a part of the field for the three-day event.

Having beaten the Wildcats in their quad meet Nov. 9 and handing Wagner their only loss this season in a dual meet, the Knights are confident they will come out on top.

“We want to win the invite, and I think there are a handful of teams there that will give us a challenge, but we’re ready,” Spiniello said. “We like swimming and diving in our home pool, and I think we will have some good swims and some good dives this weekend.”

The Knights used the week off to their advantage, giving themselves time to prepare mentally and physically.

Practices have remained intense as the team continues to work on the little things in both its swimming and conditioning.

At last year’s invite, the diving team produced a strong performance behind the leadership of senior diving captain Nicole Scott.

Scott finished with a new school record in her platform event last year and finished second in the one-meter and three-meter dives.

She recently set the Knights’ 3-meter diving record and should continue to impress this weekend.

Sophomore Joanna Wu had a strong showing at last year’s invite, taking silver in the 200-back finals. Wu has had a dominant start to the season, collecting three individual first-place finishes at the last meet. She should have a strong outing.

While Spiniello hopes the Knights can win all of their races, he expects his relay teams to have the strongest showings.

“I think all our relays but especially our medley relays,” Spiniello said of which teams will do well. “We’re really putting an emphasis on trying to win all the relays this weekend.”

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

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