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Liberty Set to Open 2013-14 Season at VT Swimming Challenge

October 10, 2013
|  Lynchburg, Va.
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The Liberty swimming & diving team opens its 2013-14 season at the Virginia Tech Swimming Challenge, Friday at Christiansburg Aquatic Center.

The Liberty swimming & diving team opens its 2013-14 schedule on Friday at 5 p.m., competing against a challenging field at the Virginia Tech Swimming Challenge. The meet, held at Christiansburg Aquatic Center, features Liberty, along with strong ACC foes Virginia Tech and North Carolina, CAA power James Madison and CCSA opponent Radford.

The Virginia Tech Swimming Challenge, a five-team meet, will be scored in dual-meet fashion. The program includes 13 individual swimming events and four relays. The competition will open with diving, at 3:45 p.m., before the first swimming event starts at 5. The meet will include a few wrinkles, as there will be a 50-yard race at each stroke along with a 100-yard individual medley.

How to Follow the Lady Flames
Fans unable to attend Friday's meet can follow the action through live timing, provided by Virginia Tech

Liberty swimming & diving begins its fourth year of intercollegiate competition. The team's roster features a strong group of returnees and several impact newcomers. The two-time CCSA runner-up Lady Flames appear poised to once again challenge for the conference title.

The Lady Flames return six individual program record holders, and four additional student-athletes who have competed on program-record relay teams. Liberty has added five freshmen this year, in addition to transfers Ginny Grams (Florida State/Daytona State) and Kristin VanDeventer (Virginia). In freshman Courtney Fox, Liberty also has its first diver in program history.

Last season, the Lady Flames competed in the Virginia Tech Sprint Classic on Oct. 20, 2012, a similar event to this week's Virginia Tech Swimming Challenge. Liberty went 2-1 at the meet, defeating Gardner-Webb and VMI and falling to Virginia Tech.

The Lady Flames took home five event victories at the 2012 Virginia Tech Sprint Challenge, with Emilie Kaufman (50 breaststroke, 100 IM), Brye Ravettine (50 free) and Jess Reinhardt all posting wins. Liberty's 200 free relay edged Virginia Tech by .08 of a second, taking first place.

Liberty received its first national ranking last year, finishing the 2012-13 campaign rated No. 37 in the Endless Pools/CollegeSwimming.com Top 25. The Lady Flames went 14-2 last season, including 9-1 in CCSA dual meets.

At the 2013 CCSA Championships, Liberty picked up its second-straight runner-up finish. During the meet, Liberty had six total event victories (four individual, two relays) and 20 podium finishes (16 individual, four relays). The Lady Flames set five conference records, five meet records and 13 program records. Liberty had eight NCAA B cuts and U.S. Open cuts by individuals, and one NCAA B cut in a relay.

Redshirt senior Brye Ravettine paces a deep, talented stable of sprinters. Ravettine, the 2012 CCSA Swimmer of the Meet and Swimmer of the Year, was also an All-America honorable mention in the 50 free in 2012. She holds Liberty's records in the 50 free (22.19) and 100 free (49.24). Cori Gary and Meghan Babcock both posted NCAA B cut times in the 50 free last season. Ravettine, Gary and Babcock went 2-3-4 in the 2013 CCSA 50 free final, and were joined by Chloe Thomas in the top eight of the 100 free.

The mid-distance group should also experience success this season, as the Lady Flames return program record-holders in the 200 free (Gary), 500 free (Emily Duff), 1000 free (Hannah Wakeley) and 1650 free (Wakeley). Newcomer Ginny Grams comes to Liberty after earning NJCAA national titles in the 200, 500 and 1,650 free for Daytona State in 2013. Kristin VanDeventer, a transfer from Virginia, will also bring experience at the 200, 500 and mile as well.

Jess Reinhardt, the 2013 CCSA Freshman of the Meet, swam conference-record times in winning the 100 and 200 fly at last year's conference meet. Reinhardt also represented Liberty at the 2013 NCAA Championships. She is joined by Bethany Kennon (formerly Wakeley), who won the 100 fly in 2012 before placing second to Reinhardt in both fly races at the 2013 CCSA Championships.

Liberty returns CCSA record-holder Emilie Kaufman in the 100 breaststroke. Kaufman's record 1:01.04 swim in prelims met the NCAA B standard, while she placed second overall in finals. The senior added a conference title in the 200 breast, in an NCAA B cut and program-record time of 2:15.00. Kaufman is also Liberty's top returner in the individual medleys. She placed third at the CCSA Championships in the 200 IM, clocking a program-record time of 2:03.98.

Liberty's backstroke group continued its strong performance in the pool last season. Brye Ravettine and Emily Duff took second and third in the 100 back at the conference meet for the second year in a row. Kendall Hough followed in fifth place in both the 100 and 200 backstroke last year. Duff met the NCAA B cut and US Open cut while placing second in the 200 back in a program-record 1:58.30.

The Lady Flames are 2-1 in season-opening meets in program history. Liberty fell to Campbell, 111-94, during the program's first meet, Oct. 2, 2010. Since then, Liberty downed Marshall and Campbell, respectively, in its last two season openers.

Virginia Tech
Virginia Tech opens its season on Friday. The Hokies placed second at the 2013 ACC Swimming & Diving Championships, before finishing in a tie for 24th place at the NCAA Championships.

The Hokies graduated ACC 100 fly record holder and two-time All-American Heather Savage last year. Sophomore Weronika Palusek holds Virginia Tech's record in the 100 and 200 breaststroke, and was the 200 breaststroke champion at the 2013 ACC Championships. Katarina Filova, a 2012 Olympian from Slovakia, is the Hokies' record holder in the 200 free.

North Carolina
North Carolina placed 12th with 102 points at the 2013 NCAA Women's Swimming & Diving Championships, after finishing third at the ACC Championships.

Senior Cari Blalock earned two ACC titles in 2013 (200 fly, 400 IM), and placed third in the 200 fly and eighth in the 400 IM at the 2013 NCAA Championships. Meredith Hoover, also a senior, finished fourth in the 2013 NCAA 200 fly.  Junior Danielle Silverling turned in a seventh-place 500 free finish at the 2013 national meet.

James Madison
James Madison, coming off of a second-place finish at the 2013 CAA Swimming & Diving Championships, opened its 2013-14 season with a 166-72 win at Radford, last Friday.

Sin Hye Won broke JMU's record in the 100 breaststroke, placing second at the 2013 CAA Championships, and went on to compete at the NCAA national meet. Kelsey Holmgaard won CAA titles in both the 200 breaststroke and 200 IM last season, and added a second-place 400 IM finish, all in program-record time.

Radford
Radford placed 10th at the 2013 CCSA Championships, scoring 117 points at the conference meet. The Highlanders opened their 2013-14 season with a 166-72 setback to James Madison at home, last Friday.

Sophomore Sarah Fredericksen in Radford's top returner, placing 10th in the 200 fly at the 2013 CCSA Championships while also holding the program record in the 1000 free.

Following Friday's meet, Liberty will next compete in a tri-meet in East Lansing, Mich., Oct. 25, taking on Big Ten programs Michigan State and Illinois.

Schedule of Events
1. 400 Medley Relay
2. 1,000 Freestyle
3. 50 Freestyle
4. 200 Freestyle
5. 50 Backstroke
6. 50 Breaststroke
7. 200 Butterfly
8. 200 Freestyle Relay
15 Minute Break
9. 200 Medley Relay
10. 500 Freestyle
11. 100 Freestyle
12. 200 Backstroke
13. 200 Breaststroke
14. 100 Individual Medley
15 Minute Break
15. 50 Butterfly
16. 400 Individual Medley
17. 400 Freestyle Relay