Courtesy: Liberty Athletics
LYNCHBURG, Va. – The Liberty swimming & diving team will host the Liberty Last Chance Meet for the second year in a row, held Friday through Sunday at the Liberty Natatorium.
This weekend’s meet will give swimmers and divers a chance to improve on their national seeding in advance of next week’s selections to the 2019 NCAA Division I Women’s Swimming & Diving Championships.
Each day’s session will begin with morning prelims at 10 a.m. The top qualifiers will compete in evening finals
Liberty earned many NCAA B cut times at the 2019 CCSA Championships last weekend in Lynchburg, when the Lady Flames claimed their second conference title in program history. The Lady Flames set program records for most podium finishes (27), most points (1,859.5) and most wins (10) at a CCSA Championship.
Selections for the 2019 NCAA Division I Women’s Swimming & Diving Championships will be announced at noon next Wednesday. The top 38 or 39 individuals in each event will be selected to compete in the national meet, which will take place March 20-23 in Austin, Texas.
Each of the last two years, Liberty swimmers have earned their inclusion in the NCAA Championship field through times attained at a last chance meet. Two years ago, Alicia Finnigan punched her ticket in the 200 fly at the Bulldog Last Chance Meet. Last year, Finnigan (200 fly) and Payton Keiner (200 back) both earned their national meet selections at the Liberty Last Chance Meet.
Note – the last invited times listed here refer to the 2018 NCAA Championships. Actual last invited times for this year will be determined next week.
Alicia Finnigan’s season-best 1:56.33 in the 200 fly is currently tied for 33rd in the nation. She is the only Lady Flame currently inside the top 38 nationally, although several of her teammates are close. The last invited time in the 200 fly last year was 1:55.99.
Payton Keiner ranks 44th in the 200 backstroke with a time of 1:54.25, and it took 1:53.68 to be invited in 2018.
Staying with the backstroke, Keiner swam a 52.82 to lead off the 400 medley relay last weekend. That 100 backstroke time is currently 48th in the nation, and 52.54 was the last time invited to the 2018 NCAA Championships.
Finnigan is ranked 81st at present in the 100 fly in 53.13. It took 52.41 to make the national field last year.
Gianni Pitto (4:15.06) and Mikayla Herich (4:15.23) are 92nd and 95th, respectively in the nation in the 400 IM. Last year, 4:09.75 was the cutline.
Pitto’s 1:01.50 in the 100 breaststroke is the 116th best time in the event this season. In 2018, 1:00.11 was the last invited time.
Herich has the 130th fastest 200 IM time, at 1:59.82, and it took 1:56.76 to make it last season.
Any swimmer who gets invited in an event will also be able to swim any other events in which they attained a B cut.
Liberty’s relays will also challenge for qualification, with A standards necessary to make it into the field.
Below are Liberty’s top relay times this season, with a look at how they compare to the A cuts.
Relay Liberty’s 2018 Best A Standard
200 FR 1:31.87 1:28.61
400 FR 3:22.15 3:14.97
800 FR 7:13.46 7:02.52
200 MR 1:39.84 1:36.75
400 MR 3:37.59 3:32.20
Liberty has had athletes invited to the NCAA Division I Women’s Swimming & Diving Championships five times (2012, 2013, 2014, 2017, 2018), twice scoring points. In 2012, Liberty’s Brye Ravettine finished 13th in the 50 free to become the team’s first All-American. Then in 2014, Liberty became the first CCSA team to send a relay to nationals, as its 200 medley relay competed. Also that year, Jess Reinhardt took 10th in the 100 fly and Liberty tied for 43rd in the final team standings. Last year, Alicia Finnigan contested the 100 fly and 200 fly, while Payton Keiner swam the 100 back and 200 back.