Dual meets allow steady improvement

Following some strong showings to begin the season, the Rutgers swimming and diving team must deal with adversity for the first time this season.

The Scarlet Knights (4-1) suffered their first defeat at Boston University (4-1) in dual meet action Saturday, leaving a small blemish to an otherwise flawless start to their campaign.    

Despite the loss, the Knights remain upbeat about their performance.

“Overall I think we did a decent job,” said junior Greta Leberfinger. “There were areas where we could have improved on, but we were tired and we didn’t rest at all for the meet so our bodies hurt. I think overall everyone did a good job pushing through the pain and putting that behind us and getting up on the block and just racing.”

While the result at Boston was a disappointment, the dual meets are usually used as practice to prepare for the AAC Championships in February.

Head coach Phil Spiniello believes the dual meets are a great way for the swimmers to practice racing while tired in competitive environments.

“We’re going to continue our normal training pattern of lifting and swimming and diving and just continue our hard work,” Spiniello said. “… Yes it’s disappointing to lose our first dual meet, but at the same time our ultimate goal and focus is always going to be our conference meet in February.”

The Knights have almost a four-week layoff until they travel Jan. 4 to face another Patriot League opponent in Bucknell.

With plenty of time to prepare for the Bison, the Knights will look to regain some momentum with big matchups against Big Ten opponents to come shortly after.  

Training the next four weeks will prepare the Knights in the physical aspects of racing, but mental preparation will be just as important.

“I just think that we need to continue to focus on the details like we have all season and swim and dive with the confidence that we can win the meet,” Spiniello said.

In order to maintain the team’s high morale, the Knights believe focusing on the positives will be just as important as improving on the negatives.

During the dual meet, the team dominated the breaststroke events, wrapping up all top-three spots in both the 100 and 200 meter, with Leberfinger claiming first in both.

The Knights also had strong performances from senior Brittany Guinee, who won the 200-yard butterfly, and sophomore Joanna Wu, who secured three top-five finishes. Senior diver Nicole Scott also captured first in both 1- and 3-meter diving events.

Senior swim captain Allyson Perrotti believes the loss will serve as motivation moving forward.

“We definitely thought that we could have won if we had just a little bit more [aggression],” Perrotti said. “BU came out wanting it a little bit more than we did, but I definitely think it serves as fire for our next meets and we don’t want to have that happen again and we want to make sure we come out on top.”

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

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