Rutgers welcomes 3 schools to 4-day invitational meet

From Wednesday, Nov. 28 to Saturday, Dec. 1, the Rutgers swimming and diving team will host American, Columbia and Queens University of Charlotte, at the Rutgers Aquatic Center.

Head coach Jon Maccoll does not plan on changing his strategy but expects the Scarlet Knights to swim faster, earlier in the tournament.

"We're gonna rest before the meet, and they should have more energy for the backend of the meet," Maccoll said. "You're probably gonna see people out fast, and see people out back take over to finish off fast."

This new strategy is another one of many that he has come up with during Rutgers' undefeated season. 

Maccoll had also mentioned that the upcoming meet is no different from any other meet except that the Knights are trying to qualify for other races. 

“There’s a lot of excellent races for us, and were trying to make NCAA's, break pool records and win events” said Maccoll.

One Rutgers swimmer to look out for is freshman Terka Grusova. Having already made a significant impact this season in her first year on the Banks, it appears that she will be an integral part of the team’s success this week. Her time of 53.97 in the backstroke at the ACC/Big Ten challenge is ranked 59th in the nation and eighth in the Big Ten.

Her success in the backstroke will be exciting to watch as she faces off against other swimmers at the this week's tournament. The Lions' Kasey Karkoska and the Royals' Bobbie Gichard have both had impressive seasons thus far and can give Grusova competition in the backstroke event.

Columbia is 2-2 in dual meets. This week, it is trying to grab a win after placing 3rd out of 10 teams in last year’s Rutgers Invitational. One reason the Lions have done well this season is because of their backstroke swimmer Kasey Karkoska.

In her first collegiate season, Karkoska had a time of 55.39 in the 100-yard backstroke event and a 26.81 in the 50-yard backstroke. 

Columbia also has a competitive freestyle swimmer in Arianna Noya. Noya swims the 500-yard freestyle and recorded her fastest time of 5:04.00 against the Brown last season. She will compete against some of the fastest swimmers in the country this week.

Another Knight to watch for is junior Francesca Bertotto. She is undefeated in the 500 and 1,000-yard freestyle events. Her consistent success has made her a pivotal part of Rutgers' success. 

This season, Bertotto holds the 500-yard freestyle all-time record. This success will hopefully carry over into the meet this week.

Maccoll has stated how the Rutgers Invitational meet is one of the last times his team will be able to qualify for the NCAA Championships and Big Ten Championships.

"The team is well-rested, highly motivated and excited for this meet," he said. "We're aiming for personal best times and pool records while getting accustomed to a long championship format meet in front of our home fans. It's one of the highlights of the season." 

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

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