The Rutgers swimming and diving team will have four athletes competing at the NCAA Championships, which is hosted by Ohio State at the McCorkle Aquatic Pavilion starting Thursday, March 15th through Saturday, March 17th.
The two swimmers that qualified are junior Francesca Stoppa, who is making her third appearance in her career at this event, and freshman Sveva Schiazzano, who is making her NCAA Championship debut. Stoppa will compete in the 100 and 200 yard butterfly events. In the 200, Stoppa placed 18th in the nation in 2016 and 34th last year. As for Schiazzano, she will compete in both the 500 yard and 1,650 yard freestyle events.
On the diving side, senior Addison Walkowiak looks to cap her impressive career at Rutgers with a big performance this weekend. She qualified for the fourth consecutive time for the NCAA Championships by winning the NCAA Zone A Championship in the 1-meter diving event and qualified for the 3-meter dive as well with a second place finish at that same event. While Walkowiak holds the school records in both the 1-meter and 3-meter dive, she will also be competing on the platform dive this weekend. Last year, Walkowiak had to withdraw from the NCAA Championships after hurting herself in the prelims of the 1-meter event. Her best finishes at the NCAA’s was in 2016, when she finished 23rd in the 3-meter dive, 25th in the 1-meter dive, and 26th in the platform dive.
Addison Walkowiak qualifies for the 3-meter NCAA Zone A finals, sitting in first place. pic.twitter.com/iRNaUI5KfP— RU Swimming & Diving (@RUSwimDive) March 6, 2018
The other diver competing at the NCAA Championships is junior Rachel Byrne, who finished second on the platform dive at the Zone A event. She also finished 8th in the 1-meter dive and will compete in both events this weekend. Last season, Byrne finished 29th in the nation in the platform dive.
Rachel Byrne and Addison Walkowiak both qualify for the NCAA Zone A Championships Finals on 1-meter!— RU Swimming & Diving (@RUSwimDive) March 5, 2018
Walkowiak in first. Byrne in sixth. pic.twitter.com/72heNenRYL
It has been a tumultuous year for the program, after former head coach Petra Martin was fired by Rutgers in November due to abuse allegations. The program is now led by co-head coaches Frederick Woodruff, who has been the head diving coach at Rutgers for 25 seasons and Jon Maccoli, who is in his first season on the banks. Rutgers recently added three-time Division II All-American Katia Alyabyev to the coaching staff as well.
Good luck to all four athletes competing this weekend.