Rutgers' Stoppa, Grusova power Big Ten to win over ACC, host Brown Friday

This past weekend the Rutgers women's swimming and diving team participated in the ACC/Big Ten Challenge. The Big Ten carried the day with a score of 251 against the ACC’s 102, at Purdue's Morgan J. Burke Aquatic Center.

The two swimmers representing the Scarlet Knights were senior Francesca Stoppa and freshman Terka Grusova. Competing in the 200-yard butterfly, Stoppa's 3 points for the Big Ten was her fastest swim of the year. With an NCAA B standard time of 1:57.19, she beat out North Carolina's 4th place finisher Bryanna Cameron by only 0.16 seconds. 

"They did really well swimming fast tired," said head coach Jon Maccoll. 

Maccoll also stated how the swimmers' fatigue contributed to several mistakes, such as Stoppa messing up a few turns and Grusova’s goggles even falling out during a race. Even with these mistakes, Maccoll was very proud of how they performed, even with the tiredness.

Grusova had her best performance of the season in the 100-yard backstroke with 53.97 seconds, finishing in 7th place. She was very close to making an NCAA B cut time, missing it by 30 milliseconds.

Following this past weekend’s success, Rutgers returns to the Banks this Friday against Brown for its first home meet this season at the Rutgers Aquatic Center.

The Bears are winless against its opponents this season. They have only had one meet, losing to Yale 160 to 140 on Nov. 2.

"It was a fun first outing with our team," said Brown's head coach Kate Kovenock, according to "Our women raced tough and with spirit. We had a few freshmen — and a sophomore as well — record their first-ever dual meet wins. I love seeing that kind of poise racing against great competition."

Their wins in the relay races highlighted their success on the night. Having won both relay races during the meet, it will be interesting to see how the Knights fair against the Bears. 

In its past meet against Toledo and Oakland, Rutgers was first in the 400-yard freestyle relay race with freshman Kasja Dymek, juniors Clare Lawlor, Grusova and Alexandra Fabugais-Inaba.

One aspect of the meet to look out for will be the short distance sprints for freestyle. In the Bears last event, they took the top two spots. Fabugais-Inaba performed well against the Bullets and the Golden Grizzlies where she won the 200-yard freestyle. 

"(I'm) having them swim one of their main and one or two of their not main, just so that no one gets hurt or no one goes down, so we know who would fill that hole," Maccoll said. 

Although Rutgers has raced well, fatigue is hurting its times, and Maccoll is trying to solve this issue as much as possible.

“We are looking towards our midseason invite which will be our first big meet for the first semester," Maccoll said. "This meet is a prep for our big meet coming up."

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

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