Liberty Women & SMU Men Claim 2024 Atlantic Sun Conference Championship Titles

2024 ATLANTIC SUN CONFERENCE CHAMPIONSHIP

  • Dates: Wednesday, February 21 – Saturday, February 24
  • Location: Allan Jones Aquatic Center, Knoxville, TN
  • Combined men and women
  • Defending Champions: N/A (inaugural meet)
  • Live Results
  • Live Video: ESPN+
  • Championship Central: men’s site ׀ women’s site
  • Psych Sheet
  • Teams: Bellarmine, Florida Atlantic (men), Gardner-Webb, Liberty (women), North Florida (women), Old Dominion, Queens, SMU (men), UNC Asheville (women)

The 2024 Atlantic Sun Championships are in the books. The Liberty women and SMU men are walking away victorious, both posting decisive wins en route to the overall titles.

Jack Hoagland of SMU kicked off the final day strong, winning the 1650 freestyle in 14:54.77. He led a 1-2-3 finish for the Mustangs, as Jack Forrest (15:17.61) and Hunter Lund (15:25.27) joined him on the podium. The women’s race showcased a dominant performance from Queens senior Sophie Lange, who touched in 16:24.06 to win by over 20 seconds. Lange won the 500 free earlier in the meet, touching in 4:48.12 there.

Queens swept the 100 freestyle events, as Danielle Melilli touched in 48.44 to clear the women’s field before Matej Dusa (42.63) won the men’s race. Kamryn Cannings gave Melilli a great race, also finishing in a sub-49 time of 48.84. Cannings doubled up on fly wins earlier in the week, and nearly grabbed a third win here.

Liberty senior Abbie Shaw completed her sweep of the backstroke events, finishing in 1:55.36 to secure 200 gold. It was a 1-2 finish for Liberty, with sophomore Malia Francis checking-in at 1:56.50 for runner-up status. Queens freshman Haley Ross (1:57.37) outpaced Liberty senior Sydney Houtz (1:57.44) to grab 3rd, preventing a sweep of the top three podium positions.

The men’s 200 back was led by SMU’s Cotton Fields. Fields was runner-up in both IM races earlier in the meet, but led an SMU 1-2-3 sweep in this event. Three swimmers broke the 1:44-barrier, with Fields (1:43.79) narrowly touching ahead of teammates John Culver (1:43.93) and Jack Easton (1:43.95).

After placing 2nd in the 100 breast a day earlier, Queens sophomore Annika Huber (2:12.09) scored 200 breast victory. She won by a 1.68 seconds, getting her hands on the wall ahead of Liberty teammates Genna Joyce (2:13.77) and Jamyson Robb (2:14.49).

SMU freshman Kristaps Mikelsons won the men’s 200 breast, doubling up on his win in the 100-yard distance. He touched the wall in 1:54.90, with Old Dominion’s Bryce Mortimer (1:55.58) and Gardner-Webb’s Justin Bender (1:56.98) grabbing 2nd and 3rd.

Queens took a comfortable win in the women’s 400 free relay, as the squad of Danielle Melilli (48.23), Ryley Heck (49.76), Abigail Zboran (48.84), and Madeline Foster (49.97) finished in 3:16.80. The lead-off split from Melilli was particularly impressive, as it undercut the 48.44 she posted en route to the individual win. Liberty (3:19.81) touched for 2nd and Florida Gulf Coast (3:21.36) finished 3rd.

SMU touched over a second ahead of Queens in the 400 free relay, winning in 2:50.71. Their quartet was comprised of Danny Kovac (43.30), Lance Butler (42.33), Christopher Mykkanen (42.63), and Sage Sungail (42.45). Queens hit the wall in a final time of 2:51.81, highlighted by Matej Dusa‘s lead-off split of 42.60, which was faster than his time from the individual event.

Meet Awards

  • Atlantic Sun Most Outstanding Women’s Swimmer of the Championship — Danielle Melilli (Queens)
  • Atlantic Sun Most Outstanding Men’s Swimmer of the Championship — Jack Hoagland (SMU)
  • Atlantic Sun Most Outstanding Women’s Diver of the Championship — Maddie Freece (Liberty) 
  • Atlantic Sun Most Outstanding Men’s Diver of the Championship — Tyler Coffey (SMU) & John Dymond (SMU)
  • Atlantic Sun Most Outstanding Women’s Freshman Performer — Abigail Zboran (Queens) & Kamryn Cannings (Liberty)
  • Atlantic Sun Most Outstanding Men’s Freshman Performer — Kristaps Mikelsons (SMU)
  • Atlantic Sun Women’s Swimming Coach of the Year — Jake Shellenberger (Liberty)
  • Atlantic Sun Men’s Swimming Coach of the Year — Greg Rhodenbaugh (SMU)
  • Atlantic Sun Women’s Diving Coach of the Year — Andrew Helmich (Liberty)
  • Atlantic Sun Men’s Swimming Coach of the Year — Darian Schmidt (SMU)

Final Team Scores

Women: 

  1. Liberty — 897.5 points
  2. Queens — 792 points
  3. Florida Gulf Coast — 579.5 points
  4. UNC Asheville — 535.5 points
  5. North Florida — 236 points
  6. Gardner-Webb — 218.5 points
  7. Bellarmine — 134 points

Men:

  1. SMU — 1059 points
  2. Queens — 699 points
  3. Florida Atlantic — 568 points
  4. Old Dominion — 342 points
  5. Gardner-Webb — 249 points
  6. Bellarmine — 146 points

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Ador
1 month ago

Sophie Lange swims for Queens

Liberty Bibberty
1 month ago

Loved the ESPN+ broadcasts out of Knoxville. Quality camera work and excellent announcing. He knew a lot of facts about records, kid’s wins, etc. I want that guy back next year!

For The Win
Reply to  Liberty Bibberty
1 month ago

The broadcast was so professional. He made the racing a lot more exciting.