Divers sweep home meet, swimmers finish runner-up to JMU
February 10, 2019 | Lynchburg, Va.
Liberty University's men's swimming team won both relays and eight out of 14 individual events contested at Saturday's Winter Classic Invitational, the first combined men's swimming & diving competition hosted by the Flames at the Liberty Natatorium.
Despite the individual success, Liberty finished second to JMU in the six-team meet. The Dukes won with 541 points followed by Liberty (514), Radford (196), VCU (108), Lynchburg (79), and Longwood (25).
"JMU had more numbers than us," Flames first-year Head Coach Heath Grishaw said. "We did very well for only having 11 swimmers. We just did not have enough bodies to fill every event. I was impressed, but not satisfied. Right now, we just have to figure out how we can improve."
Individually, Flames freshman Caleb McClelland won the 50- and 100-yard freestyle events in 22.41 and 49.09 seconds, respectively, edging junior teammate Charles Fernandez (second in 22.54 and 49.22). McClelland won the 500 free in 5:05.87, ahead of freshmen teammates Christian Brasher (second in 5:12.35) and Caleb Rice (third in 5:31.06). McClelland also swam the third leg of Liberty's winning 200 free relay (1:31.24), anchored by Fernandez, who also finished first in the 200 free in 25.05 and anchored the first-place 200 medley relay, which won in 1:42.96, beating JMU (151.27) by more than eight seconds.
Junior Ryan Sparklin (backstroke), sophomore Ben Klipp (breaststroke), and junior Noah Miller (butterfly) swam the first three legs of the 200 medley relay. Sparklin also won the 50 back in 27.74, the 100 back in 1:00.05, and placed second in the 200 back in 2:14.03. Klipp won the 100 breast in 1:05.77, followed by freshman teammate Dan Flittner (1:09.95), and placed second in the 100 individual medley in 26.54. Miller won the 200 butterfly in 1:53.19 after placing second to Fernandez in the 200 free in 1:56.47.
Complete results are available online.
|Flames diving coach Lucas Wood instructs one of his competitors as swimming coach Heath Grishaw looks on.|
In the diving competition, Liberty freshman Elijah Jantomaso (144.20), sophomore Sawyer Shultz (140.45), and sophomore Danny Fernandez (125.55) were the only three collegiate divers in Saturday's 1-meter springboard competition with Jantomaso (146.10) and Shultz (135.50) finishing 1-2 in Sunday's 3-meter event.
Several members of the Lady Flames NCAA Division I swimming & diving team assisted with timekeeping, scoring, and coordinating the meet, as men's team members have for previous women's competitions.
"It was fun to watch," Grishaw said. "We are one school and we have a great relationship between both NCAA and Club Sports teams. We look to work together and it's good to see them bond as a program. I'm proud of them and I loved to see the turnout we had for our first meet. It was awesome to see the support. As we bring in better quality swimmers, we hope to fill the stands for future events."
Several of the Flames swimmers will travel to JMU on Feb. 23, their last meet to earn qualifying times for the March 29-31 College Club Swimming National Championships at Ohio State.
"We are on the road to nationals and the hardest part of the season starts right now," Grishaw said. "The guys are ready and I think they're hungry."