Rutgers splits contests in home penta-meet

The Rutgers swimming and diving team opened its 2017-18 season with a penta-meet showcase, hosting Villanova, Pittsburgh, Seton Hall and Georgetown. The Scarlet Knights split the four matchups by defeating Georgetown and Seton Hall by scores of 235.5-117.5 and 275-78, respectively, but falling to Villanova and Pittsburgh by final scores of 210.5-142.5 and 219-134.

On the diving side, senior Addison Walkowiak continued her success from both her last event in Illinois and last season at the quad meet hosted at Rutgers winning the 3-meter dive with a score of 343.55. She also took home first place and national recognition with her 1-meter dive. She scored a 308.65 in the event, giving her the top score for all Big Ten competitors so far this season.

Head diving coach Frederick Woodruff spoke to on Walkowiak’s performance over the weekend.

"Addison is doing everything right at this stage, and we certainly won't be complaining seeing her name on the top of the Big Ten rankings this week," Woodruff said. "We can't put too much stock in it, because all that matters is when they go head-to-head right next to each other at championships. But we're in a good position."

Joining the diving team is junior Rachel Byrne, who also competed in the 1 and 3-meter dives. She placed in third in both events with a finals score of 275.5 in the 3-meter and 279.05 at the 1-meter dive.

In the pool, the swimming side was led by both sophomore Federica Greco and junior Francesca Stoppa. Both competitors are coming off of solid performances in Illinois for the 200-yard butterfly event. They added to their success in the first home event of the season, finishing 1-2 in the 19-person race. Stoppa took the overall victory with a time of 2:00.89, and Greco finished with a final time of 2:02.67.

Sophomore Clare Lawlor, in a very close 50-yard freestyle race, finished third with a time of 23.87. Rachel Brown of Pittsburgh won the event with a time of 23.27, with Alexa Fabbri of Villanova bridging the gap between them with a time of 23.65.

Another sophomore who made her mark over the weekend, in her first collegiate win as a Knight, was Francesca Bertotto. She took home first place in the 500-yard freestyle, beating Villanova's Caitlin Daday by a little over a half of a second. Bertotto held a time of 4:57.51, and Daday touched the wall right behind her at 4:58.06.

Bertotto would also take second place in the longest race of the competition, the 1,000-yard freestyle. She beat out Daday once again for the second-place spot but fell off the pace to finish behind Pittsburgh senior Amanda Richey. Bertotto finished with a time of 10:06.49 and Richey took first place with a time of 9:54.66.

Other notable performances came from junior Vera Koprivova in the 100-yard and 200-yard backstroke events. She placed in third for both events, beating out 19 other competitors in the 100-yard variant with a time of 56.79, and then in the 18-person field of the 200-yard race she finished with a time of 2:01.38.

Head coach Petra Martin, also spoke to during the second day of competition, on some of the changes that her team made to try and improve after the first day.

"I think we were pretty tired yesterday, and that may have resulted in some mistakes," Martin said. "We talked about it and fixed it this morning. There was a good response and good changes, and I was happy with that. They thought about things differently today, and grew up a little bit overnight."

Rutgers will hold its next event at home, hosting 10 teams at the Frank Elm Invitational. The event will take place on Nov. 17-19 at the Rutgers Aquatic Center.

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