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Lady Flames Head West for Tri-Meet at Oregon State

October 9, 2014  Lynchburg, Va.  RSS
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Lady Flames Head West for Tri-Meet at Oregon State

The Liberty swimming & diving team makes its first-ever regular-season trip to the West Coast this weekend. The defending CCSA champion Lady Flames will travel to Corvallis, Ore., to compete in a tri-meet with Oregon State of the Pac-12 and Seattle.

Although Liberty has not faced either of this weekend's opponents in a head-to-head dual meet before, the Lady Flames and Beavers finished in a tie for 43rd at the 2014 NCAA Women's Swimming & Diving Championships. Liberty's Jess Reinhardt placed 10th in the 100 fly with a conference-record time of 51.72, earning seven points. Sammy Harrison of Oregon State swam 16:01.59 to earn a 10th-place finish in the national 1,650 freestyle finals.

The Lady Flames have competed against several top-conference opponents in the past, defeating Michigan State (Big Ten) and Vanderbilt (SEC) last year and picking up a win at Boston College (ACC) in 2012.

Liberty opened the 2014-15 season on Sept. 26 with a 140-121 victory at CCSA opponent Campbell. The Lady Flames won both relays, including a 1-2 sweep in the meet-ending 200 freestyle relay. On the evening, four different Lady Flames earned individual event victories. The meet served as the first collegiate competition for 10 Liberty freshmen.

Sophomore Morgan Noonan won both the 100 (1:06.88) and 200 (2:21.40) breaststroke on Sept. 26, good for her first two event wins as a Lady Flame. She ranks third on Liberty's all-time performance list in both breaststroke races.

Senior Emily Duff posted a 100 freestyle clocking of 53.32, narrowly winning her race at Campbell. Duff, a six-time CCSA medalist, holds Liberty's program records in the 200 back (1:57.52) and 400 individual medley (4:20.89).

Sophomore Victoria Tschoke swam 2:06.12 to earn the 200 back victory against the Camels. Tschoke was a top-eight finisher in three events, 100 back, 200 back and 200 individual medley, as a freshman at the 2014 CCSA Championships.

Freshman Rachel Hoeve claimed victory in the 200 freestyle with a time of 1:56.09. She is the first Lady Flame since 2012 to begin her career with an individual victory. Classmate Prudence Rooker cracked Liberty's all-time top five list at Campbell, as she is ranked fourth in the 100 breaststroke (1:06.95) and fifth in the 200 breaststroke (2:24.30).

This year's team includes 12 newcomers, with 11 freshmen and one transfer comprising nearly half of Liberty's 25-person roster. All 13 of Liberty's returnees scored at last year's conference meet. The Lady Flames' group of returning student-athletes is highlighted by six CCSA individual medalists and two additional swimmers, who competed on medal-winning relays at the conference championship meet last year.
 
Oregon State
Oregon State finished ninth at the 2014 Pac-12 Women's Swimming & Diving Championships, earning a total of 309 points. The Beavers will begin their regular-season schedule on Friday, after holding an Orange and Black exhibition meet last Saturday.

Sammy Harrison returns for the Beavers after winning the Pac-12 title in the 1,650 free last year, becoming the first Pac-12 champion in program history. She placed 10th in the 1,650 free at the NCAA Championships. Harrison holds Oregon State records in the 500 free and 1,650 free.

Seattle
Seattle will begin its 2014-15 season on Friday. The Redhawks scored 154 points at the WAC Championships in 2014, finishing in eighth place.

Sophomore Blaise Wittenauer-Lee finished seventh in the conference final for the 100 breaststroke. Junior Jane Liggett returns, after placing ninth in the 100 fly and 13th in the 200 fly at the 2014 conference meet. Senior Bethany Gehrke is back after placing 10th in the WAC 1,650 freestyle finals last year.

Following Friday's meet, Liberty will return to Virginia, competing in the Virginia Tech Sprint Classic next Saturday at the Christiansburg Aquatic Center. The Lady Flames will face Virginia Tech, Penn State, James Madison and Old Dominion at the event.