Liberty Announces The Addition Of 4 For 2017-18 Season

Liberty Swimming & Diving Head Coach Jake Shellenberger has announced the addition of four student-athletes to the Lady Flames’ swimming & diving program. Lindsey Cohee, Kiah Francis, Payton Keiner and Emily Manly have all signed commitments to attend Liberty and swim starting in the 2017-18 academic year.

“Overall, this is the best recruiting class we’ve had on paper here at Liberty, and we are thrilled to welcome these four ladies to LU,” Shellenberger said. “Three have long course USA Swimming Junior National cuts, the highest total of an incoming class in our history. As we run a year-round program, this will set us up well going into Trials in 2020 as we look to get second swims in Omaha.  All four ladies are also multiple top-eight scorers in our conference, and will provide an immediate impact in dual meets as well. Finally, all are superstars academically, and are a great fit for Liberty from a cultural and spiritual standpoint. Assistant coach and recruiting coordinator Jessica Barnes has put together a tremendous class, and the future is bright here at LU!”

Lindsey Cohee

Hometown: Charlotte, N.C.

High School: Home School

Club: SwimMAC Carolina

Club Coach: Peter Verhoef

Intended Major: Exercise Science

Best Times: 200 IM: 2:06.06; 100 Fly: 55.49; 200 Fly: 2:00.02

Honors and Highlights:

YMCA National qualifier since the age of 13

Placed 8th in 100 fly at Florida 2A High School State Championships as a freshman
Placed 2nd in 100 fly at Florida 3A High School State Championships and 8th in 200 IM during junior year

Placed 5th in 100 fly at Future Championship in 2016

Junior National qualifier in 100 fly and 200 fly

Quote from Cohee: “I am excited to announce Liberty University as my school of choice! I love Liberty’s breath-taking view of the Blue Ridge Mountains and their gorgeous campus buildings and am confident that this is where the Lord wants me to be. I am impressed with how far coach Jake and coach Jessica have taken their team in such a short time. Coach Jake has done a fantastic job designing a state-of-the-art training facility for his swimmers and I can’t wait to be a part of their program. Go Flames!!”

Quote from Shellenberger: “Lindsey is one of the top butterfly recruits in the state of North Carolina and the nation as a whole, and her 100 and 200 fly enter as top-eight times in our conference. Lindsey is a great fit for Liberty, and her strong faith will add to the culture of our university and swimming & diving program. No stranger to elite level training at SwimMAC under Peter Verhoef, Lindsey enters with the base, background and skills necessary to attain elite level status in the sport.”

Kiah Francis
 Rhinelander, Wis.
High School:  Home School
High School Coach:  Lindsay Byrka
Club:  YMCA Northern Swimmers (WYNS)
Club Coach:  Abby Larson
Intended Major:  Exercise Science: Pre-Professional

Best Times: 100 Breast SCY: 1:03.83; 100 Breast LCM: 1:13.25; 200 Breast SCY: 2:19.23; 400 IM SCY: 4:24.81; 200 IM SCY: 2:07.44
Honors and Highlights:

Two-time 200 breaststroke state champion

2016 WIAA D2 State Champion in 200 IM and 100 breaststroke

2015 WIAA D2 State Runner-up in the 200 IM and 100 breaststroke

Five-time Rhinelander High School varsity swimming record holder

Summer Juniors Qualifier

2016 Summer Junior National 100 Breast C-Finalist

2015 Great Northern Conference Swimmer of the Year

YMCA Teen Character Award Recipient

Quote from Francis: “I chose Liberty because I love everything about the school, coaches, and team. The beautiful campus and city feels like home, the facilities are incredible, and the unique swim program has such a bright future. I truly see myself succeeding in the classroom and in the pool at Liberty, and I feel that it is the best place for me to grow as a person and a follower of Christ.”

Quote from Shellenberger: “Kiah is our first Wisconsin recruit, and we are thrilled to welcome her to Liberty in the fall. A standout breaststroke, IM, and sprint freestyler, Kiah will provide sprint relay depth in both the free and medleys, and her breaststroke events enter as top-eight conference times. A fantastic fit for Liberty, we knew early on in the recruiting process this was the perfect fit for her!”

Payton Keiner

Hometown:  Cincinnati, Ohio
High School:  Cincinnati Christian Schools
High School Coach:  Jen Keiner
Club:  YMCA
Club Coach:  Mike Leonard
Intended Major:  Nursing

Best Times: 50 Free SCY: 23.13; 100 Free SCY: 50.56; 200 Free SCY: 1:50.90; 500 Free SCY: 4:56.71; 100 Back SCY: 54.34; 200 Back SCY: 1:57.58; 50 Free LCM: 26.46; 100 Free LCM: 57.89; 100 Back LCM: 1:03.94; 200 Back LCM: 2:16.75
Honors and Highlights:

2016 Ohio Division II state champion in 100 backstroke and runner-up in 200 IM

Runner-up in 100 backstroke and 200 IM at 2017 Ohio Division II State Championship

Three-time USA Junior National qualifier

Qualified for finals at YMCA Nationals for five years

Holds 21 SCY records for club swimming

Quote from Keiner: “I chose Liberty because it is the perfect fit for me to grow as a Christian, student and athlete. It has a special and one of a kind combination of fast swimming, outstanding academics and a loving, wholesome atmosphere. I’m ecstatic to be joining the Liberty women’s swimming & diving family!”

Quote from Shellenberger: “Payton enters our program as one of our fastest recruits in history, and we are thrilled she chose to continue her academic and athletic career here at Liberty. Top-eight in multiple events at our conference meet, Coach Mike Leonard has also prepared her well for the long course pool, as she adds three U.S. Open cuts to her already impressive resume. A freestyle and backstroke specialist, Payton will make an immediate impact in the backstroke events at our conference meet, and will play a crucial role in our sprint freestyle and medley relays. A graduate of Cincinnati Christian Schools, Payton is a fantastic fit for the world’s largest Christian university, and we are thrilled to welcome her to LU!”

Emily Manly

Hometown:  Sunnyvale, Texas

High School:  Sunnyvale High School

High School Coach:  Becky Fisher

Club:  Rockwall Aquatic Center of Excellence (RACE)

Club Coach:  Neil Walker

Intended Major:  Biomedical Sciences

Best Times: 200 Free: 1:51.60; 500 Free: 4:59.45; 200 Back: 2:02.70; 400 IM: 4:24.14

Honors and Highlights:

2016 Futures Championship silver medalist in 800 free relay

2016 UIL 5A state meet bronze medalist in 100 back and fourth-place finisher in 200 IM

Nine-time UIL 4A and 5A all-state selection (200 IM – 2014, 2015, 2016; 100 back – 2014, 2015, 2016; 200 free – 2016; 500 free – 2014, 2016)

Junior Nationals qualifier

2016 Academic All-State

National Honor Society

Quote from Manly: “I chose Liberty because of the contagious passion that the team, coaches and students have for the university. The academics are fantastic and I kept hearing about how much the faculty cares for the students. The team has such a positive energy and work ethic. I loved getting to know Coach Jake and Coach Jessica during the recruiting process, and learning about their vision for Liberty Swim & Dive. Their expectations and vision for the team is high, and I’m so happy that I get to be a part of it. On top of all that, they are currently building a pool that will be one of the best in the country. I wholeheartedly believe that Liberty will help me reach my full potential socially, academically, athletically and spiritually. Go Flames!”

Quote from Shellenberger: “Emily enters our program as one of the top recruits in her class from the state of Texas, and we are thrilled to welcome her to Liberty. As a freestyle, backstroke and IM specialist, Emily’s versatility will be a benefit to our program as we continue to recruit student-athletes who are a great fit for our unique culture and score top-eight in our conference in multiple events. A product of the Rockwall Center of Excellence and American swimming legend Neil Walker, Emily is well-coached and ready to excel at the elite Division I level.”

Press Release courtesy of Liberty Athletics.

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