Rutgers hosts penta-meet with Pitt, Villanova, Seton Hall, Georgetown

The Rutgers women’s swimming and diving team opens up its first home meet of the season on November 3 and 4. The Scarlet Knights will host the penta-meet at the Rutgers Aquatic Center, welcoming in Pittsburgh, Villanova, Seton Hall and Georgetown to fill out the rest of the competition.

After winning three out of four team meets last week against Northwestern, Illinois, Chicago-Illinois and Chicago, Rutgers looks to continue its stride as the season is underway.

Head Coach Petra Martin and her team are excited to play in front of a home crowd for the first time this season. The Knights held a record of 3-1 in their home meets last season.

“It's gonna be great to be home and swimming in our home environment,” Martin said. “That's always exciting. We are hoping we are going to get some great support.”

Of those three wins at home last season, two of them were against both Georgetown and Seton Hall in a quad-meet with Villanova last season. Rutgers defeated the Hoyas and the Pirates with a score of 233-119 and 269-77, respectively. But the Knights lost momentum and could not sweep the competition, narrowly losing to Villanova, 183.5-168.5.

Looking to continue her momentum after breaking an ARC pool record in the 200-yard butterfly in Illinois is junior Francesca Stoppa. At the end of last season, Stoppa was among five of her teammates to qualify for the Big Ten Championships, finishing tied for ninth in the 100-yard butterfly.

Martin spoke on whether Stoppa is already better than she was last season, after just one meet this campaign.

“Absolutely, definitely, she has improved a lot of things,” Martin said. “Especially outside of the pool, taking care of some of the aspects that will help her train better every day and help her recovery from training and competition.”

Joining her in trying to keep the momentum is sophomore Federica Greco, after coming behind Stoppa in the record-setting 200-yard butterfly, and then taking first place in the 100-yard butterfly.

Sophomore Alexandra Fabugais-Inaba was also one of the five competitors that went to the Big Ten Championships. Last season in the quad-meet, she took first place in two events, the endurance-driven 500-yard freestyle with a time of 4:58.01 and the 200-yard freestyle with a time of 1:53.08. She also contributed to the 400-yard medley relay victory, helping Rutgers post a time of 3:45.51.

Martin is enthused with the dedication that her team has had this offseason. She spoke highly of her swimmers and commends them for their hard work.

“The whole team has really been taking things seriously in and outside of the pool,” Martin said. “It's showing, so we are really happy with that.”

For the diving team, senior Addison Walkowiak comes off of a one-meter dive win in Illinois. In last year's quad-meet at home, she posted the top score in the three-meter diving competition.

Also looking to make a significant impact in the diving competition is junior Rachel Byrne. She took home third place in both the one and three-meter dives last season at the Rutgers Aquatic Center.

Martin also has high hopes for her team in this upcoming home meet. She wants to see her team constantly have a good work ethic and give its all.

“We want to see, again, them being competitive and racing and making sure they are pushing every event that they are in,” Martin said.

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

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