Rutgers wins 1st home meet against Brown, Wagner

On Friday, the Rutgers swimming and diving team won its first home tri-meet of the season against Brown and Wagner. The Scarlet Knights, who are undefeated in dual meets, beat the Bears 173-127, and the Seahawks 248-51.

Head coach Jon Maccoll was very pleased with how the night turned out, even with the injuries Rutgers sustained, including diver senior Rachel Byrne, a previous NCAA qualifier.

"It worked pretty well, we had a couple of injuries, Rachel, our top diver and NCAA qualifier, ended up not being able to dive today, so I wasn’t able to move many players around," Maccoll said. “Marin (Bloise) in the diving was an absolute star today. She dove like an NCAA National qualifier today, she's the best of the bunch."

Senior diver Marin Bloise scored a total of 301.55 points in the 3-meter diving event, ahead of the second-place diver by 28.65 points. With this success, the Knights won the diving competition.

Junior swimmer Francesca Bertotto won both the 500- and 1,000-yard freestyle events. On top of winning these events, she made a new personal record this season in the 1,000-yard freestyle with a time of 10:03.63. Bertotto won the 500-yard freestyle event 7 seconds ahead of her opponent.

“I try to practice hard every single day, and my teammates are a great help since we help each other a lot, and Coach Jon Maccoll is a great influence,” Bertotto said. “Of course the turns and try to improve my tempo a little bit and try every day to work a little harder."

One part of Rutgers' success this season is its ability to do well in the relay races. In Friday's meet, both the A and B teams finished in the top-three places. 

The A team was comprised of freshman Terka Grusova, sophomore Delaney Carey and juniors Frederica Greco and Clare Lawlor. The B team included freshmen Simone Lusby, Nora Woods and Kasja Dymek and senior Francesca Stoppa.

“I've always loved relays, the energy from the other three girls pumping me up, and also I feel like it's not just me swimming, but I'm swimming for the team, which gives me the motivation to push harder," Dymek said. “Since I have been in Mid-D, I haven’t been doing a lot of sprinting, but I have to figure out my racing strategies in the long distance and not just in the short ones."

The Bears' Audrey Lukawski won the 100-yard breaststroke with a time of 1:05.66. She also won the 200-yard breaststroke as well with a time of 2:20.27. 

Brown faired well in the relay races, as well. The Bears won the 400-freestyle relay with a time of 3:27.68.

Despite a last-place finish, Wagner swam well and obtained multiple top seven-place finishes.

With all of the Knights success, Maccoll believes that there is still a lot to work on before the team's next meet, the Rutgers Invitational, from Nov. 28 to Dec. 1.

“Turns, turns and more tuns. Our turns have not been that great. It is a point of emphasis that I have been making in practice," Maccoll said. "I wish it were bearing more fruit. Our race strategies have come together, we swam smart races, and the way it was split out, we out split both Brown and Wagner."

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

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