Liberty Holds Strong on Day 2 of CCSA Champs, FGCU’s Halmai Hits 59.9 100 BR

Coastal Collegiate Swimming Association (CCSA) – Women

Team Standings (Through Day 2)

  1. Liberty University – 1297.5
  2. Florida Gulf Coast University – 1238.5
  3. University of Incarnate Word – 932
  4. North Carolina Asheville – 666.5
  5. Campbell University – 651
  6. Georgia Southern University – 577
  7. Gardner-Webb University – 553.5
  8. Bellarmine University – 337

Interestingly, there was no movement in the team standings on the 2nd day of the meet. Two-time defending champions Liberty have expanded their lead over FGCU to 58 points, but in a meet that is scored through 27 swimmers, the battle for first is still incredibly tight as we head into the final day of the meet. The Flames set themselves up for success in prelims this morning, qualifying 24 swims to finals, two more than FGCU’s 22.

FGCU senior Petra Halmai added to her illustrious CCSA career tonight, winning her 3rd 100 breast conference title. Halmai swam a 1:00.11 to win the race, tonight, but was faster in prelims clocking a 59.98 to break the meet record. The swim was just of Halmai’s 59.89 season and personal best, which she swam in November 2020. Her 59.89 currently ranks her 18th in the NCAA this season, giving Halmai a real shot to qualify for NCAAs in the event, depending on how the other DI swimmers perform in the coming weeks.

Halmai was also excellent in the 400 medley relay, splitting a 59.43 on the breast leg, which lead the field of breaststrokers by over a second. Claire McAtee led the FGCU squad off in 54.48, Julia Rodriguez swam 54.46 on fly, and Tori Czarnecka anchored in the only sub-50 split in the field, 49.33. FGCU won the event in 3:37.70, touching as the only team in the field under 3:40. Liberty backstroker Payton Keiner led the field with a 53.79.

Keiner would go on to win the 100 back for Liberty, swimming a 53.46. As was the case with Halmai, Keiner’s victory also marked her 3rd CCSA 100 back title, and her 6th individual CCSA title. Keiner’s personal best is from last year’s CCSA Championships, where she clocked a 52.60.

After winning the 800 free relay yesterday, Liberty was stellar in the 200 free today, posting a dominant 1-2-3 finish. Sophomore Eva Suggs led the charge, taking over the race by posting the fastest split in the field on each of the last 3 50s of the race, finishing in 1:49.01. Junior Emma Hazel was next in with a 1:50.60, while Abby Brown Strohmeier, a freshman, was 3rd in 1:50.96.

Liberty also had a huge finish in 1-meter diving, with freshman Maddie Freece setting a school record with her winning score of 293.15. Junior Lauren Chennault took 2nd with a 269.15. The Flames had a 3rd A finalist, with junior Olivia Robinson taking 8th with a final score of 217.25.

Incarnate Word picked up a pair of victories today, earning top finishes in the 100 fly and 400 IM. Cassie Phillips, a senior, took the 100 fly in 53.50, winning an incredibly tight race with FGCU’s Tori Czarnecka, who finished just .01 seconds behind (53.51). The race was very tight from start to finish, with Phillips taking the race out in 24.63 on the first 50, compared to 24.88 by Czarnecka. Czarnecka was faster on the 2nd 50, 28.63 to Phillips’ 28.87, but ultimately was .02 seconds short from getting her hands on the wall ahead of Phillips.

UIW sophomore Ximena Conde Merlos picked up her 2nd win of the meet, taking the 400 IM. Merlos was well over 3 seconds ahead of the field, touching in 4:20.58. The difference-maker for Merlos was the breaststroke leg, where she clocked a 1:12.83 split, which was the only breast split under 1:15 in the field.

FGCU also won the 200 free relay, with Czarnecka (22.46), Zuzu Rabiniak (23.73), Claire McAtee (23.35), and Kaja Reinhardt (22.92) teaming up for a 1:32.46. Czarnecka and Reinhardt were the fastest two splits in the field.

Bellarmine had something of a historic night, earning their first A finals appearances at CCSA Championship. After being moved up from NCAA Division II to Division I this past off-season, Bellarmine earned 3 A finals finishes tonight. Junior Rachel Walker took 7th in the 100 fly, swimming a 55.69, then went on to swim in the 200 free A final as well, finishing 8th with a 1:53.27. Senior Sophia Noren posted the top Bellarmine finish so far at these champs, taking 6th in the 100 breast in 1:03.13.


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