Flames swimmers finish fourth at JMU's Battle for the Crown
February 17, 2018 | Harrisonburg, Va.
Liberty University's men's swimming & diving team competed against a few of the top USA Swimming Masters programs in the United States, including defending national champion Virginia, at their first meet of the Spring semester, the fifth annual Battle for the Crown Invitational held Saturday at James Madison University. The Flames finished fourth in both the men's and the combined team standings out of 14 colleges and universities represented, including the host Dukes, who placed seventh at last year's finals.
"It was a very tight meet this weekend," Flames Head Coach Parker Spencer said. "We are very encouraged after some great performances against some of the best teams in the country, including UVA, JMU, and a much better Virginia Tech team than in past years."
Liberty, which scored 140 points to finish behind Virginia (180), Virginia Tech (164), and JMU (157), was paced by sophomore Thomas Sonnery-Cottet's first-place, meet-record-setting performances in the 500- (4 minutes, 49.41 seconds) and 200-yard freestyle (1:49.33) events and seventh-place showing in the 100 free (51.69).
|Freshman David Schafer placed second in the 100 IM and fifth in the 50 free. (Photo by Dale Carty).|
Newcomer Noah Miller, a transfer from Olivet (Ill.) University, placed second in the 100 butterfly (54.48) and fifth in the 50 fly (24.91), while sophomore Ben Klipp, swimming in his first races for the Flames, placed third in the 100 fly (55.87), fourth in the 200 free (1:52.75), and sixth in the 50 fly (25.11).
Freshman David Schafer also turned in impressive finishes, placing second in the 100 Individual Medley (57.74) and fifth in the 50 free (22.72). Meanwhile, Javier Lluuch Perez, a Spanish mid-semester recruit to Liberty's triathlon team, finished second in the 500 free (5:00.52) and fifth in the 200 free (1:55.37), while fellow freshman Bobby Hammond placed third in the 500 free (5:01.55).
This was the last meet for the Flames before the April 5-7 USA Swimming Collegiate Nationals in Atlanta, where Spencer expects the team to be in contention for a national title in its first season as a program. Liberty's six men's divers will make their debuts at that competition, which should give the Flames an edge in a meet that drew 59 teams last year.
"We will go to the national championships with great potential to place in the top five and contend for a national title with the strength we currently have in the swimming events combined with our depth in diving," he said.