Liberty Women Jump Out to Big Lead on Day 1 of CCSA; UIW Paces Men’s Meet

Braden Keith
by Braden Keith 0

February 16th, 2022 News

2022 CCSA Men’s & Women’s Swimming & Diving Championships

The Liberty women jumped out to an early lead thanks to big points from their distance crew as the Flames look to settle a tie from last year’s championship meet with Florida Gulf Coast.

Meanwhile, the Incarnate Word men are on track to win a 4th title in the last 5 years after a devastating winter storm in Texas blocked them from traveling to the CCSA Championships.

Women’s Recap

Team Scores – After Day 1

  1. Liberty – 321
  2. FGCU – 246
  3. Asheville – 234
  4. Incarnate Word – 139.5
  5. Gardner-Webb – 122.5
  6. Campbell – 122
  7. Georgia Southern – 97
  8. North Florida – 44
  9. Bellarmine – 15

The Liberty Flames jumped out to a big day 1 meet thanks in part to a 1-3-4 finish in the 500 free. That gave the defending co-champions 94 points, out of 259 individual scored on the day, using only three of their allotted swims – a hugely-efficient effort.

The flames took advantage of a flat race in the 500. Senior Emma Hazel won the race in 4:57.22, beating out UNC Asheville’s star freshman Caitlin Hefner (4:57.49), and then Abby Strohmeier and Emmy Gallion each dropped about four seconds from their lifetime best to place 3rd and 4th, respectively.

Four swimmers who were in the A Final at last year’s CCSA Championship meet swam in the B Final on Wednesday. That includes the top-seeded Ximena Conde, who was the top seed entering the race, but won the B Final in 5:02.07 for 10th place overall.

Florida Gulf Coast didn’t have any swimmers in the A-Final, and while they held close to Liberty the rest of the session, that 500 free gap represents most of the scoring gap on day 1.

It wasn’t all doom-and-gloom for the Eagles on day 1. They started the session with a win in the 200 medley relay, finishing in 1:39.38. That counts as their second-straight conference title in the 200 medley relay.

The group of Claire McAteePetra HalmaiTori Czarnecka, and Hailey Jerew made up the winning FGCU relay. Liberty finished 2nd in 1:40.29, including a 25.01 from sophomore transfer Abbie Shaw, who is favored to win the 100 back later in the meet.

The Eagles moved to two-for-two when sophomore Reese Wakefield won the women’s 3-meter diving event for the second time in three seasons. Liberty, though, had 5 of the 9 divers in the A-Final, and again picked up big points on FGCU, in spite of the Eagle victory.

After the thunderous Liberty results in the 500, Georgia Southern sophomore Amy Hornyak won the 200 IM in 1:00.80. She was more than a second behind FGCU All-American Petra Halmai at the 150 yard mark, but a 29.47 closing split for Hornyak was enough to chase down the breaststroker to insert the other Eagles into the meet.

Liberty again showed off their depth, finishing 3-4-5-6 in the A-Final.

FGCU picked up their third win of the day to close the women’s session thanks to a 22.29 in the 50 free by Tori Czarnecka. She is a perfect three-for-three in CCSA titles in the 50 free. Her previous best time in the event was 22.40 from the 2020 championship. Her best shot at NCAA qualifying comes later in the meet in the 100 fly. She swam a new best time in that race mid-season in 53.18. She’ll need to drop that to at least 52-mid to earn an invite to NCAAs, but after a best time in the 50 free, that feels within reach.

Delaney Carlton of UNC-Asheville finished 2nd in the 50 free in 22.73, FGCU’s Hailey Jerew was 3rd in 22.83, and UNCA’s Abby Parks was 4th in 22.95. UNCA had a historic season and, thanks in large part to those sprinters, they maintained contact on day 1.

All nine swimmers in the 50 free A-Final have remaining eligibility after this season: three juniors, four sophomores, and two freshmen.

Men’s Recap

Team Scores After Day 1:

  1. Incarnate Word – 165
  2. Florida Atlantic – 149
  3. Gardner-Webb – 125
  4. Old Dominion – 78
  5. Bellarmine – 59

Day 1 already saw the men’s 50 free, deemed to be the most competitive of the meet with each team having a contender, and it lived up to the billing.

Ultimately, against a very deep field, Gardner-Webb senior Brady Fields successfully defended his title, winning in 20.16.

Old Dominion’s Noah Wilkins was 2nd in 20.24, FAU’s Peter Tanner was 3rd in 20.27, followed by the three star newcomers: Incarnate Word’s Nikita Kolesnik in 4th in 20.29, and a tie for 5th between IWU’s Spyros Kranias and Fabio Fasolo in 20.41.

Fosolo entered the meet as the top seed, and his mid-season 20.00 remains the fastest time in the conference so far this year.

That was one of two wins on the day for Fields. He bookended the session, also leading off Gardner-Webb’s winning 200 medley relay in 21.82 – the fastest backstroke split in the field. He was joined by Jonathan FryeTim Bennett, and Seggio Bernardina on an all-senior Gardner-Webb relay.

Their time of 1:27.25 shaved .07 seconds off the Meet and Conference Record that were set last year by the exact same quartet.

In between the Bulldogs’ victories, Florida Atlantic picked up a pair of wins. Freshman Timo Paisley topped the 500 free in 4:26.97, holding off a furious later charge from UIW’s Alvaro Ibarra, who was just .07 seconds behind. Ibarra was almost a second back going into the final 100 yards of the race.

Incarnate Word went 2-3-4 in that race, using depth to land on top of the standings on day 1 even without winning a race.

FAU’s second win of the session went to senior Alec Peckmann. He topped the 200 IM in 1:47.31, almost two-seconds ahead of another UIW freshman Jorge Cardenas, who was 2nd in 1:49.27.

That is a second straight win for Peckmann, swimming eight-tenths better than his winning mark from last year. He was two-tenths better mid-season.

Racing will continue on Thursday with 13 events, including the first men’s events, the 3-meter springboard diving. Incarnate Word and UIW are the only teams with divers entered in the meet, so they will separate from the field after that event.

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About Braden Keith

Braden Keith

Braden Keith is the Editor-in-Chief and a co-founder/co-owner of He first got his feet wet by building The Swimmers' Circle beginning in January 2010, and now comes to SwimSwam to use that experience and help build a new leader in the sport of swimming. Aside from his life on the InterWet, …

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