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Lady Flames Set for NCAA Women's Swimming & Diving Championships
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The Liberty swimming & diving team will send four student-athletes to compete in the 2014 NCAA Division I Women's Swimming & Diving Championships, held Thursday through Saturday at Minnesota Aquatic Center in Minneapolis, Minn.
Senior Emilie Kaufman (100 and 200 breaststroke) and sophomore Jess Reinhardt (50 free, 100 and 200 fly) will both compete in individual events. Kendall Hough and Meghan Babcock will join them in the 200 medley relay.
How to Follow the Lady Flames
Live results and live video streaming will be available throughout the championships. The finals sessions on Friday and Saturday nights will appear live on ESPN3.
What's at Stake
Each day of the national meet begins at 11 a.m. (EDT), with preliminary heats. Finals sessions will begin at 7 p.m. (EDT) each evening.
The NCAA Championships will feature a three-day meet format. The top 16 times from each event in morning prelims qualify for evening finals, with the top eight swimming in the A Final. Those who complete races in the A Final earn All-America first team status, while B finalists are named honorable mention All-Americans.
Individual events will be scored as follows: 20-17-16-15-14-13-12-11-9-7-6-5-4-3-2-1
Relay events will be scored as follows: 40-34-32-30-28-26-24-22-18-14-12-10-8-6-4-2
How They Got Here
Liberty's 200 medley relay earned an NCAA A cut, swimming 1:37.80 at the CCSA Championships. The Lady Flames become the first CCSA team to send a relay to the NCAA Championships. The quartet of Hough, Kaufman, Reinhardt and Babcock has posted the 23rd-fastest 200 medley relay time in the nation to date.
Reinhardt will make her second career appearance at the NCAA Championships, after competing in the 100 fly at last year's national meet. She earned an invitation in the 100 and 200 fly, and will also be eligible to swim the 50 free with a B cut swim of 22.76. Reinhardt's CCSA-record 100 fly time of 52.14 has her ranked 17th in the field. She swam a conference-record 1:56.79 to win the CCSA 200 fly title, a time that is seeded 39th.
Kaufman swam a conference, meet and program-record 1:00.01 in the 100 breaststroke to win the CCSA championship. Her 1:00.01 clocking is rated 21st overall among those invited to the national meet. She will also swim the 200 breaststroke (2:12.49), after setting CCSA records in the events at the conference meet. This will be Kaufman's first trip to the national meet. Kaufman also qualified for the 200 individual medley, with a conference-record 2:00.29, but will not swim the 200 IM at nationals, in order to focus on her 100 and 200 breaststroke.
This marks the third straight year that the Lady Flames will be represented at the NCAA Division I Women's Swimming & Diving Championships. In 2012, Brye Ravettine competed in the 50 free, 100 free and 100 back at the NCAA national meet, becoming Liberty's first swimming All-American by placing 13th in the 50 free.
Thursday, March 20
On Thursday, Reinhardt will compete in prelims of the 50 free. Her entry time of 22.76 ranks 58th among those entered on the psych sheet. Georgia's Olivia Smoglia holds the top seed time, 21.54, followed by Ivy Martin of Wisconsin (21.58) and Georgia's Madeline Locus (21.67). Defending champion Margo Geer of Arizona is seeded seventh, at 21.78. If the heats go according to the psych sheet, it would take 22.15 to earn an evening swim, while 21.84 would make the A final.
Friday, March 21
Friday is Liberty's busiest day at the meet, beginning with the 200 medley relay trials at 11 a.m. The Lady Flames' relay of Hough, Kaufman, Reinhardt and Babcock (1:37.80) is rated 23rd out of 31 invited teams on the psych sheet. Georgia has posted the fastest time in the nation this season, at 1:35.52, while Stanford has gone 1:35.74. Tennessee, last year's victor in this event, is seeded third at 1:35.81. Texas A&M holds the eighth seed, in 1:36.40, while 16th-seeded Missouri is at 1:37.42.
Reinhardt gets Liberty's day-two individual events under way, swimming in the 100 fly prelims. She is seeded 17th with her conference-record time of 52.14, which is just .03 seconds behind 16th-seeded Rebecca Weiland of Minnesota. Ellese Zalewski of Florida, last year's runner-up, is tied with Missouri's Danielle Barbiea for the first seed, as both have swum 51.13 this season. Third seed, Felicia Lee of Stanford, swam 51.26 earlier this year. A total of 13 entrants have broken 52 seconds in 2013-14. Going by the psych sheet, 51.73 is in eighth position, while 16th is 52.11.
Kaufman enters Friday's 100 breaststroke heats with the 21st-fastest time in the nation, 1:00.01. Two-time defending NCAA 100 breaststroke champion and American record holder Breeja Larson of Texas A&M is the heavy favorite, as she is the only swimmer to break 58 this season, at 57.28. Molly Hannis of Tennessee (58.22) and Emily McClellan of Milwaukee (58.44) are seeded second and third after placing ninth and 10th, respectively, last year. If the trials go according to the psych sheet, it will take 59.17 to qualify for the A Final, and 59.56 to make the B Final.
Saturday, March 22
On Saturday, Kaufman will contest the 200 breaststroke, as her time of 2:12.49 is listed 47th on the pre-meet entry list. Notre Dame's Emma Reaney and Texas A&M's Breeja Larson will battle it out, as they are the only two to break 2:06 this season. Reaney is the American record holder, at 2:04.34, breaking Larson's existing record this year. Larson has clocked a 2:04.92 this season, after finishing third at nationals last season. Georgia's Melanie Margalis is seeded third, in 2:06.23. The eighth seed, Ashley McGregor of Texas A&M, sits at 2:07.38, while 2:09.07 is the 16th-fastest entry time.
Reinhardt swims in the 200 butterfly prelims on Saturday morning. Her CCSA-record 1:56.79 was the 39th and final invited time in the event. Seven out of the top eight from last year's 200 fly A Final return, led by defending champion, Cammile Adams of Texas A&M. Adams, at 1:52.19, is the only swimmer to go under 1:53 this season. Stanford's Madeline DiRado (1:53.60) and Hali Flickinger of Georgia (1:53.62) are seeded second and third, respectively. Christina Bechtel of Kentucky holds the eighth seed, at 1:54.21, while 1:55.51 is the 16th best time in the field.