Meets serve as rehearsal for postseason

<p>Sophomore Joanna Wu has little to improve on as she has been competing strong throughout the season, recently winning a 200m title on Jan. 11.</p>

Sophomore Joanna Wu has little to improve on as she has been competing strong throughout the season, recently winning a 200m title on Jan. 11.

With the AAC championships rapidly approaching, the Rutgers swimming and diving team returns to its home pool in hopes of gaining some valuable momentum.

The Scarlet Knights will host Fordham and Rider tomorrow morning in their second-to-last meet of the season at the RU Aquatics Center.

Following four straight away meets against fierce competition, head coach Phil Spiniello has high hopes for the team entering the weekend.

“Fordham and Rider are both very good programs with some very good swimmers and divers on their team,” Spiniello said. “We’re going to have to be sharp and swim and dive to our ability to come out with a couple wins, but we’re back in our home pool, which we really like, and I think that’s to our advantage.”

The Knights were challenged during their road meets, facing some of the top swimming and diving programs in the nation.

While improving times and learning how to race with fatigue are the main objectives during the regular season, entering the most crucial meet of the year on a winning streak should help.

“I think [the final two meets are] a good opportunity to practice competing to help our preparation for the conference meet,” said senior diving team captain Nicole Scott. “We’ve been really focusing on just doing a lot of reps of our weaker dives so we get stronger on those dives, and I think it’s really coming along well.”

One swimmer who has little to improve on is sophomore Joanna Wu.

The Kent, Wash., native has been strong throughout the season, most recently finishing first in the 200-yard backstroke Jan. 11 against two top-25 opponents in Michigan and Notre Dame.

With just two meets remaining, the upcoming matchups could be seen as a dress rehearsal for the upcoming conference championships.

For Wu it is just another race.

“I think I’m going to go in, be confident, swim my races … and just see where it takes me,” Wu said.

The team spent its break transitioning into more speed work hoping to see some significant time drops in its races.

Spiniello also continued to emphasize working on smaller details such as turning and expects time decreases to result in some valuable late-season victories.

“We want to get some momentum going here that we can carry,” Spiniello said. “We want to get some good swims and good dives in … and get the momentum going into the championship season.”

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

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