PISCATAWAY, NJ – In its final tune-up before the BIG EAST Championships, the Rutgers men’s and women’s swimming and diving team hosted the Rutgers Invitational at the Sonny Werblin Center on Saturday, Feb. 12.
“Today on the last day to qualify for the Big East Championships the Scarlet Knight men and women hit the pool looking either to still make the meet by making an automatic time standard or there to pick up an extra event or two by achieving a secondary time standard,” said head coach Chuck Warner.
One of the most exciting moments of the day was Jesse Applegate making his “A” time standard in the 50 free. His first two times swimming the event he missed it by a total of two-tenths of a second. With his teammates cheering him on, he stood up with determination in his eyes and fire in his heart. On the third and finial try he poured every last ounce of energy he had into the swim and finished .01 hundredth under the cut. With a huge smile on his face, he waved to the specters and then was rushed by his fellow teammates to congratulate him on a job well done.
“Today was full of drama,” said assistant coach Andy Bashor. “Its amazing how one swim can change the attitude of a whole team. We had that today with Jesse’s 50 free. It took him several times to get his A standard of 21.49 but when he did go the time the place just erupted.”
Freshman Adam Papendick and sophomore Zach Coppa were also looking to qualify in the 50 free. With the automatic standard being set at a difficult 21.49, they knew the challenge and fully accepted it. When the water finally settled the two came out on top, both had finished under automatic time standards going times of 21.27 (Papendick) and 21.38 (Coppa). Along with them was teammate Adam Dimenna, who swam a personal best and picked up a third event at BIG EAST Championships, getting his secondary time standard in the 50 yard free (22.04).
The 100 yard butterfly saw Angelina Colavito trying to make the secondary time standard so she could swim three events at the BIG EAST Championships (she is already automatically qualified in the 50 and 100 yard free). After missing it the first time around in the morning, she dug deep later that afternoon and gritted through the last 25 yards to tie the standard of 1:00.63.
John Evens had a good day, making both “B” standards in the 100 yard breast (1:00.55) and in the 200 yard breast (2:10.31). Giving him a great race in the 200 breast that afternoon was teammate junior Eric Jennings, who picked up his third event for BIG EAST by making his “B” standard (2:11.95).
The 100 free saw Zach Coppa and Eric Jennings picking up their “B” time standards going 47.47 and 48.23, respectively.
The BIG EAST Championships take place Thursday, Feb 17 though Saturday, Feb. 19 in Hempstead, NY.