Buies Creek, NC – The Campbell University Camels hosted the Lady Flames of Liberty University on September 26, 2014 at Johnson Aquatic Center, in what would turn out to be a very close team competition. Liberty has been on the winning end of the last three pairings between these two Coastal Collegiate Swimming Association (CCSA) rivals (Liberty was 3-2 all-time against Campbell coming intothe meet). Additionally, Liberty, coached by Jake Shellenberger, is coming off of a remarkable 2013-2014 Season performance in which they won the 2014 CCSA Women’s Team Title and placed 43rd at the 2014 NCAA Division I Women’s Swimming & Diving Championships. However, with 11 incoming Freshman on the Liberty roster, and 9 newcomers at Campbell, adding another meet to the winning streak of Liberty was not guaranteed.
The time of 1:49.47 from the all-Freshman relay (Danielle Boothe, Prudence Rooker, Kendall Hart, and Chelsea Pond) was enough to stand up to the 1:50.19 clocked by the Camels. However, the Camels immediately bounced back with a win in the next event, the 1000y Freestyle, by newcomer Gina Squartino. Squartino, Freshman from North Broward Prep in Coconut Creek, Fl, would earn subsequent points in the 500y Freestyle event to keep the Camels momentum strong.
And so it went throughout the meet with Liberty and Campbell alternating first place finishes in virtually every event. The first non-Freshman from either team to put points on the board came from Campbell Junior Lily Tang’s win in the 100y Backstroke. Her winning time of 58.92 was not only the solo swim within the field under the minute mark, but it is notably faster than the 1:00.26 she clocked around this same time (early Oct) in 2013.
The 50 Free splash n’ dash did not disappoint, with Campbell veteran, Erica Wammock (Junior), earning the victory with a time of 25.24, just .05 ahead of Liberty Freshman, Chelsea Pond. Pond has a Lifetime Best recorded at 24.19, while Wammock swam a 24.32 at last year’s CCSA Championships, so chances are these two will have a few more opportunities to race against one another.
Morgan Noonan came up big for Liberty, sweeping both the Breaststroke events over Campbell’s Prudence Rooker, who was runner-up in each of the races. Both Noonan’s 100 and 200 Breast times from this meet are markedly faster than her Fall swims from last year, where she was more in the 1:07-mid-range for the 100 and in the 2:24/2:25 range for the 200. In this 2014/15 Season opener, however, Noonan clocked a 1:06.88 and 2:21.40 in the 100 and 200, respectively. May be a sign that this season will be her breakout year in making a mark within the CCSA in these events.
The Freshman Fly duo of Michele Case and Caroline Clark, from Campbell, made quite an impact with alternate 1-2 finishes in both Butterfly Events. Case was victorious in the 200 Fly event, winning in 2:05.71 (an almost 4-second-margin to 2nd place), while they switched places in the 100 Fly event. Clark earned first place in the 100 with a solid time of 58.24.
Through the halfway mark of the meet, team scoring stood at Liberty with 125 points over Campbell’s 119, and this advantage would remain leading up to the final event, the 200 Free Relay. Liberty sealed the win, however, earning points in a decisive first place time of 1:37.17 by a trio of Freshman (Rooker, Hoeve, Hart), anchored by Senior Meghan Babcock’s smoking 23.27 split. The overall team scores resulted in Liberty with 140 points, over Campbell with 121 points.
Coming off this victory, Liberty takes on Oregon State/Seattle on October 10th, while Campbell travels to the Greensboro Aquatic Center to participate in the North Carolina Collegiate Kickoff Classic happening on October 3rd.
Full meet results available here.