Rutgers diver earns All-American status
As if sending two athletes to the NCAAs was not enough of an accomplishment for the Rutgers swimming and diving team, senior diver Nicole Scott earning All-American honors certainly exceeded expectations.
The Toronto native was named an Honorable Mention All-American for advancing to the finals of the platform event at the 2014 NCAA Swimming and Diving Championships last Saturday in Minneapolis.
Scott finished 16th in the final of the platform event with a score of 252.85 to put an end to her successful career and become the first Scarlet Knight to be named an All-American in swimming and diving since Shayna Longacre in 2008.
Despite breaking two school records during the regular season in the platform event and 3-meter dive, and also being named the AAC Female Scholar-Athlete of the Year, being an All-American remains a remarkable achievement for the senior diving captain.
“I definitely couldn’t have hoped for anything better,” Scott said. “I think I accomplished all the goals that I had as a college athlete and more.”
While Scott’s accomplishments on the diving side are impressive, sophomore swimmer Joanna Wu qualifying for NCAAs was equally important.
Wu became the first swimmer under fourth-year head coach Phil Spiniello to attend the championships, an achievement the Kent, Wash., native said she never could have dreamed of.
Wu broke the school record in the 100-yard backstroke she set at the AAC championships in the preliminaries at the NCAAs with a time of 52.74.
She also competed in the prelims of the 200-yard backstroke to conclude her impressive season, which saw her break three school records and compete against some of the top swimming programs in the country.
Still in her sophomore year, Wu says her expectations will be raised especially entering the Big Ten next year.
“For me personally, I’m always trying to step it up, I’m always trying to see what I can do and always trying to be the best that I can,” Wu said.
With Wu returning, along with sophomore Morgan Pfaff and junior Greta Leberfinger, who also broke records this season, the Knights should be prepared for the challenges the Big Ten presents.
For Spiniello, the NCAA results show how far the program has come.
“It means a lot to me personally, and the program as a whole to get to that next level and to get a swimmer into the NCAA meet was a big step,” Spiniello said. “It’s been a goal of mine since the day I walked on campus with the job and we finally accomplished that goal and its not going to stop there. We want to get people back to that meet next year.”
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