Courtesy: Liberty Athletics
LYNCHBURG, Va. – The Liberty swimming & diving team will cap off its annual New Year’s training trip to Florida with meets at No. 7 Florida and FGCU on Friday and Saturday, respectively.
The Lady Flames will compete in a quad meet hosted by the seventh-ranked Gators on Friday at 2 p.m. at the Stephen C. O’Connell Center Natatorium in Gainesville, Fla. Liberty will take on Florida, Vanderbilt and North Florida at that meet.
On Saturday at noon, the Lady Flames will take on CCSA rival FGCU along with Tulane and Illinois State in a meet held at FGCU Aquatics Complex in Fort Myers, Fla.
Liberty will be meeting Florida, Illinois State, North Florida and Tulane in dual-meet action for the first time, while the Lady Flames are 1-6 all-time against FGCU and 2-0 versus Vanderbilt.
Liberty’s CCSA Award Winners this Season
So. Abigail Egolf-Jensen – CCSA Women’s Diver of the Week (Oct. 15)
So. Lauren Chennault – CCSA Women’s Diver of the Week (Nov. 26)
- Liberty sent a program-record five student-athletes (Lindsey Cohee, Colleen Donlin, Emma Hazel, Mikayla Herich and Eva Suggs) to the 2019 Toyota U.S. Open in Atlanta, Ga.
- The Lady Flames’ last regular-season meet of 2019 was the TYR ’85 Invite, at which the host Liberty Lady Flames finished in sixth place. Payton Keiner (200 back), Abigail Egolf-Jensen (platform diving) and Lauren Chennault all won events at the invitational.
- Liberty is 6-2 in dual meets this season after going 2-1 at a quad meet hosted by BYU Nov. 8-9.
- The Lady Flames are 2-0 against CCSA opponents this season and have won their last 17 CCSA dual meets in a row since a 137-125 loss at FGCU on Jan. 7, 2017. The biggest Liberty win in this streak came on Jan. 5, 2019, when the Lady Flames became the first CCSA team to beat FGCU at the Eagles’ home pool.
- Liberty earned its 100thwin in program history to open this season, defeating St. Bonaventure 269.5-82.5 at the Penn State Sprint Fest on Oct. 4.
- 10th-year Head Coach Jake Shellenberger has led the Lady Flames from the program’s inception. He has posted a 105-32 dual-meet record, being named CCSA Women’s Swimming Coach of the Year three times (2012, 2014, 2019). His teams have gone 54-14 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.
- 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.
- A total of 15 different Lady Flames have recorded at least one individual-event victory this season.
- Junior Payton Keiner, a three-time CCSA champion, is the conference leader in both the 100 back (54.71) and 200 back (1:53.75). The NCAA B cut 1:53.75 she swam at the TYR ’85 Invite is ranked 23rdin the nation. The 2018 Most Outstanding Freshman of the CCSA Meet, she holds the CCSA record in the 200 back (1:53.68). Keiner has won the 200 backstroke each of the last six times she has contested it, dating back to last season. The junior is second in the CCSA in 100 free (50.87) this season.
- 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) and is second the 100 back (55.49) 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.
- 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 seventh fastest in the CCSA so far this year. Donlin (23.78) is eighth in the CCSA in 50 freestyle so far in 2019-20.
- Freshman Eva Suggs’ altitude-adjusted 1:49.80 from the BYU meet is the fastest 200 free by a CCSA swimmer so far in 2019-20.
- Junior Lindsey Cohee ranks second in the CCSA in the 200 fly this season (2:02.19).
- 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 (291.15) and three-meter (317.85) diving. Chennault posted two third-place finishes at the 2019 CCSA meet. She broke her own program record in three-meter diving at the TYR ’85 Invite, and has qualified for 2020 Zone Championships in both one-meter and three-meter.
- Sophomore Abigail Egolf-Jensen qualified for the 2020 Zone Championships in three-meter diving (283.50) against UNC Asheville.
- Florida’s Stephen C. O’Connell Center Natatorium hosted the inaugural NCAA Division I Women’s Swimming & Diving Championships in 1982, which Florida won as its first of two NCAA titles.
- Florida finished second at the 2019 SEC Championships and 24that the 2019 NCAA Championships and returns five All-Americans this season.
- FGCU finished as runner-up to Liberty at the 2019 CCSA Championships, while North Florida placed seventh. Liberty (2014, 2019) and FGCU (2009-13, 2015-18) have combined to win 11 out of the 12 conference titles in the history of the CCSA.
- Vanderbilt placed third at Liberty’s 2019 TYR ’85 Invite, a meet at which the Lady Flames finished in sixth place.
- Illinois State picked up a fifth-place finish at the 2019 MVC Championships, while Tulane finished fourth in the AAC last season.
Order of Events
Florida Quad Meet
Friday, Jan 3, 2020
Stephen C. O’Connell Center Natatorium
200 Medley Relay
400 Freestyle Relay
FGCU Quad Meet
Saturday, Jan 4, 2020
FGCU Aquatics Complex
Fort Myers, Fla.
200 Medley Relay
400 Freestyle Relay
Liberty will send its divers to the Navy Diving Invite, held Jan. 17-19 in Annapolis, Md. The Lady Flames’ final regular-season meet will be the TYR Senior Celebration, as Liberty will host Campbell and James Madison on Jan. 25.