Flames swimmers destroy competition at ODU Invitational
September 30, 2017 | Norfolk, Va.
Liberty University's men's swimming & diving debut was a tremendous success, Saturday at the Old Dominion University Fall Invitational. The Flames finished first out of six men's teams with 707.5 points, leaving William & Mary (460) and ODU (360) in their wakes. Virginia Commonwealth (276.5), Georgetown (239.5), and Christopher Newport University (228.5) rounded out the field.
"We crushed it," Flames Head Coach Parker Spencer said. "It was good to get some good competition against some big schools. The guys performed like we thought they would and it was really good for the swimmers to see all of their hard work pay off on their first trip and competition together as a team."
Liberty originally scheduled to open its season at a meet hosted by Appalachian State, but had to change its plans when that meet was overbooked.
"It was really good for our guys to get in and get a meet under our belt," Spencer said. "The season started out just the way we wanted it to."
Spencer was amused by overhearing several swimmers and spectators say, "I didn't even know Liberty had a swim program," he said. "Almost every event we entered we won and a majority of the team qualified for (USA Masters Swimming collegiate) nationals. It was a really good day."
The Flames posted more than 20 national qualifying times, based on standards set by the Collegiate Club Swimming Association under USA Masters Swimming.
Freshman Joseph Hall won all but one event he competed in, including the 50-yard freestyle in 21.72 seconds and 200 free in 1:50.78. He placed second behind William & Mary's Kyle Smith in the 200 individual medley (IM) in 2:05.24. Hall anchored the Flames' winning 200 free relay (1:30.13) and 200 medley relay (1:41.46). Ethan Raub, another freshman from North Carolina, also swam legs on both winning relays and won the 100-yard butterfly (53.92) before finishing second in the 50 fly (24.96).
Sophomore Thomas Sonnery-Cottet, a standout on the Flames' triathlon team, demonstrated his endurance in the pool, winning the 500 free by nearly five seconds in 5:01.65 and also placed third in the 200 free in 1:53.37. Jay Hutchinson, a freshman from Tampa, Fla., won the 100 IM in 58.09.
Freshman David Schafer placed second in the 50 breast stroke in 29.29. Cameron Foster finished third in the 100 backstroke (1:00.92) and fourth in the 50 back (27.80). Adam Williams placed fourth in the 50 fly (25.71) and fifth behind Team USA triathlete Bobby Hammond in both the 200 free (1:57.97) and 500 free (5:30.32). (Hammond finished fourth in 1:57.68 and 5:23.40, respectively).
Complete results are available online.
Liberty's next meet is set for Oct. 20-21 at Coastal Carolina in Wilmington, N.C., where the host Chanticleers will be among the favorites along with defending USA Masters Swimming national champion Virginia.
Ben Davidson, a freshmen sprint freestyler from Forest, Va., should help the Flames in that competition after missing this past weekend's meet.
The Flames will then travel to the Raleigh (N.C.) Invitational, one of the biggest club-level meets on the East Coast, hosted by North Carolina State on Nov. 11.