Rutgers drops first meet of new year

The Rutgers swimming and diving team resumed its season on Friday after a month-long break, but couldn't kick things off on the right foot. The Scarlet Knights dropped the contest to Yale at home, with a final score of 145-98 in the team’s first meet of the new year.

But the meet was not a bust, according to co-head coach Frederick Woodruff.

"I was very pleased with our divers," Woodruff said when speaking to “You get through a training trip and it's a little tough to compete sometimes after the travel and staying in hotels. They regrouped this week, their mistakes were good, aggressive mistakes.”

On the diving side, senior Addison Walkowiak swept the 1-meter and 3-meter events, while the team as a whole accounted for 29 of the 38 points available to divers. Walkowiak won her first event on the 3-meter boards with a score of 343.05, which happened to be her fourth consecutive win in 3-meter events. 

Juniors Rachel Byrne and Marin Bloise and freshman Lauren Boone finished second, fourth and fifth, respectively, in the 3-meter, as well, to eat up the points. Walkowiak and Byrne also finished first and second, respectively, in the 1-meter event.

“It was exciting to see Marin miss qualifying for zones by just 8 points and to see Rachel push Addy as they finished in the top spots,” Woodruff said.

On the swimming side, sophomore Francesca Bertotto and junior Vera Koprivova were both standouts during the meet, with each of them winning two events apiece. 

Continuing her strong season in distance events, Bertotto earned a victory in the 1000-yard freestyle with a final time of 10:08:35, which was 4.5 seconds faster than the next time. Later in the event, she won the 500-yard freestyle with a time of 4:46.16.

Koprivova won both of her individual events against the Bulldogs, being the first to finish in the 200-yard individual medley and 100-yard backstroke to account for a total of 18 points for the team.

Other standout performances came from sophomore Clare Lawlor and junior Francesca Stoppa. Lawlor finished second in the 50-yard freestyle, while Stoppa was the the runner up in the 100-yard butterfly.

Even though the team lost, co-head coach Jon Maccoll saw the meet as a huge positive for the team’s future.

“We responded really well to some tough training," Maccoll said. "As a whole team, to win six of the 11 individual events was awesome. We don't really have the depth right now as a team like Yale does, but we went out and won events. The women were phenomenal at creating their own energy."

Rutgers' next meet comes on the road, as it travels to Columbus for a tri-meet at Ohio State with Michigan and Virginia Tech also in attendance on Saturday, Jan. 20 at noon. 

"All the things you want to see leading up to a great meet are in place. The culture is there, the bonding, the cheering and the enthusiasm are all there and they're having fun," Maccoll said.

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

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