Liberty Swimmers, Divers Set for Separate Meets in North Carolina

Courtesy: Liberty Athletics

LYNCHBURG, Va. – Liberty (2-1) will split its swimming & diving squads this weekend, with the swimmers competing at Campbell on Friday at 5 p.m. and the divers participating in a tri-meet hosted by UNCW in Wilmington, N.C., Saturday at 11 a.m. The Lady Flames will take on both UNCW and Old Dominion in the diving meet.

This is the second season in a row that Liberty has had a split-squad weekend. On Jan. 19, the swimmers defeated UNC Asheville 136-129 in Asheville, N.C. and the divers downed Georgia Southern 31-7 in Statesboro, Ga.

Team Notes

• Liberty earned its 100th win in program history last weekend, defeating St. Bonaventure 269.5-82.5 at the Penn State Sprint Fest last Friday. The Lady Flames then started on their next 100 wins, downing Saint Francis (Pa.) 152-109 in Loretto, Pa., Saturday.

• Liberty posted a program-record 24-dual-meet winning streak that ended at Penn State last Friday. The Lady Flames are 25-1 in their last 26 dual meets and 27-3 in their last 30.

• The Lady Flames have won each of their last 15 dual meets against CCSA opponents, beginning Jan. 14, 2017 at UNC Asheville.

• 10th-year Head Coach Jake Shellenberger has led the Lady Flames from the program’s inception. He has posted a 101-31 dual-meet record, being named CCSA Women’s Swimming Coach of the Year three times (2012, 2014, 2019). His teams have gone 53-14 all-time against CCSA competition.

• Liberty won its second-ever CCSA title in 2019, and first since 2014. The Lady Flames scored a meet-record 1,859.5 points while ousting four-time defending champion FGCU by nearly 200 points. It came five years to the day after Liberty’s first championship.

• The state-of-the-art Liberty Natatorium opened on Dec. 1, 2017 with the Central Virginia Duals, and was dedicated on Jan. 26, 2018 with an official ceremony. The Liberty Natatorium provides one of the best venues for collegiate swimming and diving in the nation, with a Olympic-sized competition pool and separate diving well and seating for 1,400 spectators in a wraparound setting.

• Liberty’s diving program made a dramatic rise last season, led by 2019 CCSA Women’s Diving Coach of the Year Tori Wood. Liberty divers contributed 225 points at the 2019 CCSA Championships. Also, then freshmen Lauren Chennault, Abigail Egolf-Jensen and Olivia Robinson became the first three divers in program history to qualify for the NCAA Zone Championships.

• A program-record six Lady Flames earned CSCAA Scholar All-America honors last season, in Lauren Chennault, Abigail Egolf-Jensen, Alicia Finnigan, Mikayla Herich, Payton Keiner and Olivia Robinson.

• A total of 13 current Lady Flames have posted CCSA podium finishes in their career, led by four from Payton Keiner. Hannah Baker and Mikayla Herich have both earned three top-three finishes, while Lauren Chennault, Lindsey Cohee, Colleen Donlin, Emily Manly, Olivia Robinson and Brittany Weiss have two podium finishes each. Arielle Arnett, Emma Hazel, Kiah Francis and Emily Zimcosky have each posted one podium finish.

Student-Athlete Notes

• Junior Payton Keiner, a three-time CCSA champion, holds the 19th fastest 200 backstroke in NCAA Division I so far this season (2:00.73). She is also the CCSA leader in 50 free (23.91) and 100 back (55.76). The 2018 Most Outstanding Freshman of the CCSA Meet, she holds the CCSA record in the 200 back (1:53.68).

• Senior Brittany Weiss is a two-time CCSA champion in the 100 back, winning in program-record 52.81 in 2018. She was named the 2017 Most Outstanding Freshman of the CCSA Meet. Weiss leads the CCSA in 100 IM (58.31) this season.

• Redshirt junior Mikayla Herich holds program records in the 1650 free (16:37.35) and 200 IM (1:59.82) after winning both events at the 2019 conference meet. She set a program record at last year’s CCSA Championships by scoring 101 points. This year, her 200 IM of 2:06.86 leads the conference.

• Senior Hannah Baker set Liberty’s record in the 200 free (1:46.55 – L) in 2018. She is one of three Liberty captains this season, joined by Colleen Donlin and Kendal Irwin. Baker’s 51.63 for 100 free is the fastest in the CCSA so far this year.

• Sophomore Olivia Robinson, the 2019 VaSID State Rookie Diver of the Year, scored the most points by a Liberty diver at the 2019 CCSA Championships (62), taking second in both one-meter and three-meter. She holds Liberty’s record for platform diving (229.58). Robinson has already qualified for the 2020 Zone Championships in one-meter diving, scoring 267.80 at Penn State.

• Sophomore Lauren Chennault enters the season as Liberty’s program record holder in one-meter (287.10) and three-meter (317.85) diving. Chennault posted two third-place finishes at the 2019 CCSA meet.

• Freshmen Eva Suggs (100 free) and Jessica Schellnboom (200 breast) and sophomore Shelby Haines (100 back) all picked up their first career victories on Saturday at Saint Francis (Pa.). Suggs’ 1:51.77 is the fastest 200 free by a CCSA swimmer so far in 2019-20.

Matchup Highlights

• Liberty is 13-2 all-time against Campbell, winning the last 13 meetings in a row. Campbell is the opponent that Liberty has faced most in program history, followed by Georgia Southern (9-2). The Lady Flames defeated the Camels twice last year, Sept. 29 in Buies Creek, N.C. (159-98) and Jan. 25-26 in Lynchburg (258-100)

• The Lady Flames hold a 2-0 record against Old Dominion, most recently defeating the Monarchs 275-76 at the All-American Celebration Meet, Oct. 26-27, 2018.

• Liberty is 2-0 against UNCW, defeating the Seahawks twice during the 2014-15 season.

• Liberty is 35-4 all-time in dual meets held in North Carolina, and has won each of its last 34 matchups in the Tar Heel State.

• The Lady Flames have competed in North Carolina every year in program history.

• Campbell is 2-2 so far this season, falling twice to FGCU and while defeating North Florida and Georgia Southern. The Camels finished fifth at the 2019 CCSA Championships. Campbell’s Annie Sanchez (100 free – 50.91; 200 free – 1:49.49), Megan Everitt (100 back – 55.08) and Maddie Baiotto (100 fly – 54.83) all hold program records.

• UNCW freshman Courtney Klausen scored 271.13 in one-meter diving at a dual meet against Tennessee on Sept. 27, qualifying for the NCAA Zone Diving Championships.

Up Next

The Lady Flames will contest their first regular-season home meet of the season, hosting UNC Asheville at the Liberty Natatorium Oct. 25-26.

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