Rutgers takes 1st place at home tri-meet

This past weekend, the Rutgers swimming and diving team faced off against Columbia and Queens University of Charlotte at the Rutgers Aquatic Center. The Scarlet Knights won the meet with a score of 2379.5, compared to the Lions’ 2097 and the Royals' 1837.5. 

The meet was a big victory for Rutgers, as it remains undefeated going into its next meet this week.

Head coach Jon Maccoll said that he wanted his team to break team records before going into the second half of the season, hoping that this could allow the Knights to qualify for the NCAA and Big Ten tournaments in the spring.

Senior Vera Koprivova broke the pool and school record in the 200-yard backstroke for the second time in her career with a time of 1:52.42. Additionally, senior Francesca Stoppa beat her own pool record in the 200-yard butterfly by 1.18 seconds. 

Freshman Terka Grusova also set a new career-best time in the 200-yard backstroke with a 1:57.90 time. On the meet’s last day, she earned a second-place finish in the 200-yard backstroke behind Koprivova. 

“I think freestyle and backstroke are very similar,” Grusova said. “So it's straightforward to practice one when working on the other simultaneously, but I can work on my turns, as well as counting strokes.”

Two of the Columbia's top divers were Briget Rosendahl and Michelle Lee. In their finals performance on Saturday, they scored 243.00 and 235.65 points respectively. 

The Lions' Mary Ashby won the 100-yard freestyle event with a time of 50.32, while her teammate Clare Larsen claimed a fourth-place finish with a season-best time of 51.18 in the event.

Columbia's strength in the short distance events was enough to send their divers to the NCAA qualifying events.

"It was a great racing opportunity this week at Rutgers," said Columbia head coach Diana Caskey. "It was a good reminder for some and an eye-opener for the freshmen about the physical and emotional demands of a four-day meet. Great preparation for the Ivy League Championships."

Although finishing in third place, the Royals had an impressive week as well. One impressive swimmer for Queens this past week was Sarah Jane Atkinson, who won the 200-yard breaststroke event. This remarkable feat was the only individual event the team would win this week. 

Another highlight for the Royals was its win in the 400-yard freestyle relay. Queens' Anna De Boers, Josefina Lorda-Taylor, Kyrie Dobson and Shelly Prayson finished the event with a time of 3:21.99. 

Maccoll said the Knights have to improve on turns and breathing patterns.

“There were swimmers that jumped out. Vera Koprivova's 400 individual medley on only three-days rest before when she used to do 10 days. Terka Grusova broke a lot of records, and the 100-yard fly with Francesca Bertotto, even though she (disqualified) in the prelims, tied her school record when she did a time trial during practice," Maccoll said. 

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

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