The Liberty swimming & diving team earned its first-ever CCSA Swimming & Diving Championship, clinching the title on Saturday at Allan Jones Aquatic Center in Knoxville, Tenn. In the process, the Lady Flames ended Florida Gulf Coast's five-year run as conference champions. Nick Pierce caught up with head coach Jake Shellenberger, along with sophomore Jess Reinhardt, for a pair of interviews. The interviews provided highlights from the conference championship meet, along with a look ahead toward the 2014 NCAA Division I Women's Swimming & Diving Championship. Shellenberger was voted 2014 CCSA Women's Swimming Coach of the Year, his second Coach of the Year award (also 2012).
For the meet as a whole, Liberty recorded 18 podium finishes, nine NCAA B cuts, one A cut (200 medley relay), six CCSA records, six meet records and 16 program records. The Lady Flames recorded at least one top-three finish in every swimming event contested at the 2014 CCSA Women's Swimming & Diving Championship. Liberty's 200 medley relay, consisting of Kendall Hough, Emilie Kaufman, Reinhardt and Meghan Babcock, placed first in a record time of 1:38.21. The Lady Flames then broke that record in a time trial later that night, swimming an NCAA A qualifying time of 1:37.80.
Reinhardt's record-setting 100 fly time, 52.14, is currently ranked 13th in the nation among all NCAA Division I women's swimmers. Her 1:56.79 in the 200 fly, also a record, ranks her 29th in the country at present.
Kaufman won three individual events, the 100 and 200 breaststroke and 200 individual medley. She posted NCAA B cuts in all three events, while swimming each event in CCSA, meet and program-record time. Kaufman's B cut time of 1:00.01 in the 100 breaststroke is tied for 21st fastest in the nation at present. The Lady Flames await official announcement of the entry list for the 2014 NCAA Division I Women's Swimming & Diving Championship, to be held March 20-22 in Minneapolis, Minn. An official release will be made by the NCAA on March 4.
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