Freshmen pace Flames swimmers to sixth at Maryland meet
September 29, 2018 | College Park, Md.
Competing in his first collegiate meet, Liberty University freshman Caleb McClelland clocked national qualifying times in four events to help the Flames' men's swim team place sixth out of 17 teams at the University of Maryland on Sept. 29. Official results were delayed due to timing errors.
Despite entering only eight swimmers, the Flames scored 282.5 team points to hang with ACC powers Virginia (first, 846.50), Maryland (second, 784.50), and Virginia Tech (fourth, 373.50) and third-place Villanova (385.50).
"Caleb did a phenomenal job and we had a great meet," said Liberty first-year Head Coach Heath Grishaw, who trained his swimmers especially hard beforehand. "Some guys were about a second off of their personal bests from last year, which was really good, especially being as tired as they were."
Grishaw plans to taper the Flames' workouts heading into the Nov. 3 regional meet at Rutgers, which will serve as a qualifier for the March 29-21 Collegiate Club Swimming National Championships at Ohio State.
McClelland won the 100 freestyle in 51.02 seconds to pace four Flames in the top 10. He was followed by fellow freshman Christian Brasher (sixth in 54.25), senior Sam Kappler (eighth in 55.63), and freshman Caleb Rice (ninth in 55.73), and Jonathan McAlister (12th in 56.53).
In the 50 free, McClelland (fifth in 23.13) and Rice (ninth in 24.12) posted top-10 finishes.
McClelland placed third in the 200 free in 1:48.50 and fourth in the 100-yard Individual Medley in 59.85.
In the 100 backstroke, sophomore Blake Dunson finished sixth in 1:02.61 followed by fellow freshmen Steven Mills (ninth in 1:03.61) and Hunter Bechtel (12th in 1:07). Bechtel paced the Flames with his 11th-place performance in the 100 breaststroke (1:14.97) and 15th-place showing in the 50 breast (33.28).
Mills also finished third in the 100 butterfly in 1:04.82 and 200 back in 2:22.42 and Dunson placed sixth in the 50 back in 28.09.
The Flames' 200 freestyle relay team of McClelland, Mills, Brasher, and Rice finished sixth in 1:37.46.
Liberty's six-man diving team will host its first competition in the new Natatorium on Nov. 10, the same weekend the Flames swimmers end their fall schedule with another regular-season meet at North Carolina State on Nov. 10-11.