Rutgers claims victories at Oakland Tri-Meet

This past weekend, the Rutgers swimming and diving team faced off against Toledo and Oakland in the Oakland Tri-Meet, in Rochester, Mich. 

The Scarlet Knights finished first with 218.5 points against the Rockets' 80.5 points on the first day. 

On the second day, Rutgers won with a total score of 184.5 points against the Golden Grizzlies' 115.5. The Knights claimed 11 of the 16 events this past weekend.

This past weekend, Rutgers did an impressive job, as it claimed another victory still keeping its record undefeated at 3-0. 

Head coach Jon Maccoll stated how he is very proud of the way his team is performing even under the exhausted state they are under at the moment. 

Freshman Terka Grusova feels similarly, stating how she is so proud of how she did, even in the tired state she is in currently. Grusova finished the weekend with first place victories in the 100- and 200-yard events. Her win in the 100-yard backstroke makes her undefeated in the event this season so far. 

The Knights competed at the top of their game in the Tri-Meet. Junior Francesca Bertotto, won both the 500- and 1,000-yard freestyle event races for both days. Bertotto attributes her success this past weekend to how hard she has been working recently and is happy that all her practice is finally starting to pay off. 

Toledo finished off strong this weekend with five top-3 finishes. 

“We’re battling a lot of injuries, which is having an impact on the team,” said Rockets' head coach Jonas Persson. 

Even with these setbacks mentioned by Persson, Beck Welke won the 100-yard breaststroke event for Toledo.

Oakland recorded first-place finishes from junior Katie Colwell in the 50 freestyle, 100 freestyle, 400 medley relay events and placed second in the 400-yard free relay. 

Senior Rachel Byrne earned a victory in the 1-meter boards and qualified for the NCAA Zone A Championship with 265.40 points to cap off a strong weekend for Rutgers. 

Not only did Byrne make an impressive mark on the diving end, but so did freshman Jenna Douglass, who notched her first event win in the 3-meter diving event. Douglass narrowly won the event by 6.7 points ahead of Byrne.

As the Knights finished the weekend, they need to work on competing in the shorter distance events. Although they did very well — winning first place in races, such as the 200-yard freestyle and the 100-yard breaststroke — the team needs to work on short distance. 

Even though this might seem like a significant setback, it is not. Rutgers has been continuously placing in the top 3 in all events, especially when it comes to the long-distance events, thanks to Bertotto.

One area in which the Grizzlies did well in was the short distance events, finishing with four first-place victories in short distance events, compared to Toledo's one. 

Another area the Knights have been doing well in is the team relays.

Earlier this season, Maccoll stated how he planned on strategizing his relay teams around his players’ specialties. This well thought planning has paid off especially in the relay races. 

In the women’s 400-yard freestyle relay, Rutgers claimed not only first, but a third place as well in the event under junior Alexandra Fabugais-Inaba, Grusova, freshman Kasja Dymek and junior Clare Lawlor. The other Knights relay team featured freshman Lizzie Zeller, junior Alexis Brewer, freshman Erin Murphy and junior Sarah Davis.  

Dymek's impressive showing is what Maccoll wanted from his players this season, and it has once again been beneficial, helping Rutgers take away the meet this weekend.

One event the Knights did not place well in was the 100-yard breaststroke, where Toledo placed in first, and Oakland placed in second. The highest they placed was in seventh.

As Rutgers goes off to compete in the ACC/Big Ten Challenge coming up, the players are not sure who is playing yet, but with this past weekend’s success, it is an excellent indicator of the direction in which the team is going and bodes well for the future the next big event.

“Everyone is putting in the work and getting themselves ready for these meets," Maccoll said. "We had improved race strategies, and many freshmen shake off the jitters and produce fast times."

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

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