Liberty Set to Take On Georgia Tech, Penn State in Atlanta, Friday

LYNCHBURG, Va. – Liberty will compete in a tri-meet against Georgia Tech and Penn State on Friday at 4 p.m. at the Georgia Tech Aquatic Center.

The Lady Flames bring a 1-0 record to Atlanta, while Georgia Tech and Penn State will both be opening their 2015-16 seasons on Friday.

How to Follow the Lady Flames

Live timing and live video streaming will both be available for Friday’s meet at Georgia Tech. Links will appear on the swimming & diving page on as they become available.

Friday’s meet will be scored in dual-meet fashion, with Liberty scoring head-to-head separately against both Georgia Tech and Penn State.

This weekend, Liberty will get to preview the venue for the 2016 NCAA Division I Swimming & Diving Championships, which will be held at the Georgia Tech Aquatic Center, March 17-19, 2016.

Liberty is 0-1 all-time against Penn State, as the Nittany Lions defeated the Lady Flames, 270-74, during the Virginia Tech Swimming & Diving Challenge, Oct. 18, 2014. Georgia Tech and Liberty will meet for the first time, Friday.

The Lady Flames have defeated one Big Ten opponent all-time, picking up a 166-133 victory at Michigan State, Oct. 25, 2013. Similarly, Liberty has posted one win over an ACC opponent, a 172-117 triumph at Boston College, Nov. 2, 2012.

Liberty opened the 2015-16 season with a 171-120 win at CCSA opponent Campbell on Saturday at Johnson Aquatic Center. For the meet, the Lady Flames won two relays and 10 individual events.

Sophomore Prudence Rooker earned two event victories on Saturday. She won the 100 breaststroke (1:06.87) and 100 free (53.23) while also swimming the fastest time in the 200 IM (2:09.11).

Freshman Alicia Finnigan had a standout performance during her first collegiate meet. She opened by swimming 2:06.94 to win the 200 fly. Her time of 2:06.94 is ranked fifth on Liberty’s all-time top five. She later earned victory in the 100 fly in 58.06.

Senior Kristin VanDeventer also picked up two event wins on Saturday, first winning the 1000 free in 10:31.96. She also won the 500 free with a time of 5:11.59.

Four additional Lady Flames won one event apiece, in senior Kendall Hough (100 back – 57.26), junior Victoria Tschoke (200 back – 2:05.39), redshirt sophomore Morgan Noonan (200 breaststroke – 2:26.94) and sophomore Rachel Hoeve (50 free – 24.62).

Sixth-year Head Coach Jake Shellenberger has guided the Lady Flames since the program’s inception. A two-time CCSA Women’s Swimming Coach of the Year, Shellenberger has guided the team to a 56-21 all-time dual meet record, including 33-12 against CCSA opponents.

Shellenberger spent three years as an assistant coach on Penn State’s men’s and women’s swimming & diving coaching staff immediately before beginning his time at Liberty. Assistant coach Jessica Barnes swam for Penn State, where she won two Big Ten team titles with the Nittany Lions while also earning All-America honorable mention twice as a relay swimmer. Barnes’ brother, Steve Barnes, is currently an assistant swimming & diving coach at Penn State.

This year’s roster features 17 returnees and 10 freshmen. Liberty’s returning group of student-athletes includes three conference medalists and four additional swimmers who swam on medal-winning relays at the conference championship meet last year.

For the first time in program history, Liberty features multiple divers. The Lady Flames welcome back sophomore Madi Long, who set the program three-meter springboard record at 201.00 last season. Senior Courtney Fox returns to the team, after serving as the first diver in program history in 2013-14. Courtney’s sister, Brooke Fox, joins the diving squad as a freshman this year.

A total of 13 returnees scored at the 2015 CCSA Championships. Among Liberty’s returnees, Natalie Beale (100 fly, 200 back), Sarah Browning (1,650 free), Rachel Hoeve (50 free), Kendall Hough (50 free, 100 free, 100 back), Prudence Rooker (100 breaststroke, 200 breaststroke, 200 IM), Victoria Tschoke (100 back, 200 back, 200 IM), Kristin VanDeventer (200 free, 500 free, 1,650 free) and Hannah Wakeley (500 free, 1,650 free, 200 fly) all posted top-eight finishes last season. Additionally, Ranndi Grubbs and Morgan Noonan have recorded top-eight placings during their careers.

Current Lady Flames with Program Records

1000 Free – Hannah Wakeley (10:06.55; 2/21/15)

1,650 Free – Hannah Wakeley (16:45.43; 2/21/15)

50 Back – Kendall Hough (24.97 – L; 2/18/15)

100 Back – Kendall Hough (53.98; 2/20/15)

1-Meter Diving – Courtney Fox (228.67; 2/1/14)

3-Meter Diving – Madi Long (201.00; 1/17/15)


Georgia Tech

Georgia Tech begins its 2015-16 season on Friday. The Yellow Jackets are coming off of an 11th-place finish at the 2015 ACC Swimming & diving Championships.

Senior diver Shannon Lumbra is Georgia Tech’s top returning student-athlete on the team. The Yellow Jackets’ record holder in three-meter diving (312.70), Lumbra competed in the 2015 NCAA Swimming & Diving Championships, placing 23rd in three-meter diving and 26th in one-meter diving. Senior Darelle Cowley ranks second in program history in both the 100 breaststroke (1:02.79) and 200 breaststroke (2:15.20), while sophomore Kira de Bruyn is ranked second in program history in the 400 IM (4:16.62).

Penn State

Penn State opens its season against Georgia Tech for the second year in a row. The Nittany Lions placed seventh at the 2015 Big Ten Swimming & Diving Championships, before finishing 20th with 56 points at the 2015 NCAA Championships.

Junior Alyson Ackman returns after setting program records in the 100 free, 200 free and 500 free last season. She broke the Big Ten record in the 200 free, winning the event at the conference meet. Ackman leads a team that returns six All-Americans from last year. Junior Melissa Rodriguez (100 breaststroke) and senior Megan Silverling (1,000 free; 1,650 free) are also returning program record holders. Katelyn Sowinski holds the program record for the 500 free (4:40.72).

Following Friday’s meet, Liberty will make its first trip to Texas, competing in a pair of meets in the Lone Star State next weekend. The Lady Flames will swim in a tri-meet at TCU, next Friday at 5 p.m. Eastern Time, before competing in a quad meet at North Texas, Saturday at noonEastern.


Schedule of Events

  1. 400 Medley Relay
  2. 1000 Free
  3. 200 Free
  4. 100 Back
  5. 100 Breast
  6. 200 Fly
  7. 50 Free
  8. 3-Meter Diving
  9. 100 Free
  10. 200 Back
  11. 200 Breast
  12. 500 Free
  13. 100 Fly
  14. 1-Meter Diving
  15. 200 IM
  16. 400 Free Relay

Swimming news courtesy of Liberty Swimming & Diving.

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About Lauren Neidigh

Lauren Neidigh

Lauren Neidigh is a former NCAA swimmer at the University of Arizona (2013-2015) and the University of Florida (2011-2013). While her college swimming career left a bit to be desired, her Snapchat chin selfies and hot takes on Twitter do not disappoint. She's also a high school graduate of The …

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