Courtesy: Liberty Athletics
The Liberty swimming & diving team opens its 2020-21 season with a pair of meets in the state of North Carolina. The two-time defending CCSA champion Lady Flames will compete at UNC Asheville on Friday at 5 p.m. before heading to Buies Creek, N.C., to take on Campbell on Saturday at noon.
• Liberty won its third-ever CCSA title in 2020, and second in a row. The Lady Flames won the meet by 163 points over FGCU (1,566-1,403), earning their third CCSA title the same place where they claimed their first conference crown (Tennessee’s Allan Jones Aquatic Center) in 2014.
• 11th-year Head Coach Jake Shellenberger has led the Lady Flames from the program’s inception. He has posted a 112-33 dual-meet record, being named CCSA Women’s Swimming Coach of the Year three times (2012, 2014, 2019). His teams have gone 58-14 all-time against CCSA competition.
• Last year at the CCSA Championships, the Lady Flames registered a program-record 29 podium finishes and 14 event victories, to go along with 10 NCAA B cuts and lowered five program records.
• Liberty has hired Andrew Helmich as its new diving coach. An SEC diver for South Carolina, he served as a volunteer assistant coach at South Carolina for three seasons (2016-19) in addition to club coaching experience. He will lead a diving contingent that features three NCAA Zone qualifiers from last year (Lauren Chennault, Abigail Egolf-Jensen, Olivia Robinson).
• Four Lady Flames received CSCAA Individual Scholar All-America honors last year, in Brittany Weiss, Mikayla Herich, Emma Hazel and Eva Suggs.
• A total of 13 current Lady Flames have posted CCSA podium finishes in their career, led by six from Payton Keiner. Lauren Chennault has earned four top-three placings, while Lindsey Cohee, Emma Hazel and Olivia Robinson have three podium finishes each. Emily Manly (2), Jessica Schellenboom (2), Arielle Arnett (1), Abigail Egolf-Jensen (1), Kiah Francis (1) and Chloe Rippey (1) have all podiumed as well.
• Senior Payton Keiner earned CSCAA All-American status last year, the third All-American in program history. Keiner has won a program-record-tying five CCSA individual titles, sweeping the 100 and 200 backstroke at each of the last two conference meets. The 2018 Most Outstanding Freshman of the CCSA Meet, she holds the CCSA record in the 200 back (1:52.63). She also owns Liberty’s 50 backstroke (24.82 – L) and 100 backstroke (52.60) records.
• Junior Lauren Chennault was named 2020 Co-Outstanding Women’s Diver of the CCSA Meet, winning one-meter and placing second on three-meter at the conference meet. Her one-meter title was the first CCSA diving title for a Liberty athlete. Chennault enters the season as Liberty’s program record holder in one-meter (291.15) and three-meter (317.85) diving.
• Junior Olivia Robinson, the 2019 VaSID State Rookie Diver of the Year, has posted three CCSA podium finishes in her career, including third place on three-meter in 2020. She holds Liberty’s record for platform diving (229.58), a discipline where she placed 15th at the NCAA Zone Championships in both 2019 and 2020.
• Senior Lindsey Cohee earned her first career CCSA individual title in 2020, capturing the 200 butterfly after placing third in the event in both her freshman and sophomore years. Cohee ranks third in program history in the 200 fly (1:57.85) and fifth in 100 fly (54.23).
• Sophomore Eva Suggs, the 2020 Most Outstanding Female Newcomer of the CCSA Meet, posted podium finishes in the 200 free (first place), 500 free (second) and 200 backstroke (third) at the CCSA Championships. She led Liberty’s first-ever 1-2-3 sweep of a CCSA event, winning the 200 freestyle in a lifetime-best 1:47.82 (third in program history).
• The Lady Flames have won their last 20 CCSA dual meets in a row since a 137-125 loss at FGCU on Jan. 7, 2017.
• Liberty is 15-2 all-time against Campbell in swimming & diving, with the Lady Flames winning each of the last 15 meetings. Campbell is Liberty’s most-frequent opponent in program history.
• Liberty is a perfect 5-0 in the all-time series with UNC Asheville, including a 203-134 win in their last meet, Oct. 25-26, 2019 in Lynchburg.
• UNC Asheville posted a program-best fourth-place finish, scoring 782 points at the 2020 CCSA Championships, while Campbell finished in sixth place with 690 points.
Liberty will host the TYR ’85 Invite, Nov. 20-22 at Liberty Natatorium. Please check back to LibertyFlames.com for the latest schedule updates.