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Lady Flames to Ring in New Year at FGCU Quad Meet

January 7, 2016  Lynchburg, Va.  RSS
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Lady Flames to Ring in New Year at FGCU Quad Meet

The Liberty swimming & diving team will open the 2016 portion of its schedule with a quad meet hosted by Florida Gulf Coast in Fort Myers, Fla. The Lady Flames will take on defending CCSA champion FGCU, along with No. 19 NC State and Central Connecticut State, Saturday at 11 a.m. at FGCU Aquatics Complex.

This marks the fifth time in the last six seasons that the Lady Flames will ring in the New Year at FGCU. Also, Liberty faced CCSU at the Rutgers Invitational in November, a meet that saw the Lady Flames place fifth and Central Connecticut take seventh.

Liberty (5-3, 3-0 CCSA) and Florida Gulf Coast (7-0, 1-0) have combined to win the last seven CCSA Championships. In 2014, the Lady Flames edged the Eagles, 732.5-718.5, to snap FGCU's five-year run and claim their first CCSA championship in program history. FGCU regained its crown in 2015, as Liberty took second place for the fourth time in five years.

FGCU holds a 4-0 dual-meet record all-time over Liberty, last downing the Lady Flames on Jan. 3, 2015. Liberty nearly doubled CCSU's score, 195-98, in the teams' first meeting at last year's FGCU Quad Meet. The Lady Flames will take on NC State for the first time.

NC State (19th) and FGCU (29th) both appear on the latest National Rankings, while FGCU is listed third on the Division I Mid-Major Rankings.

The Lady Flames have also received national recognition this season. Liberty earned its highest national rankings to date, listed 26th in the Team Rankings and No. 4 in the Mid-Major Rankings on Oct. 6. The team posted a win over a Big 12 team for the first time in program history, defeating TCU in Fort Worth, Texas, on Oct. 9.        

Liberty's divers combined to earn three straight CCSA Diver of the Week honors. Courtney Fox set a new program record in three-meter diving (222.25) at James Madison on Oct. 17, earning her first-ever CCSA Women's Diver of the Week honor. Fox's sister, Brooke Fox, was named CCSA Diver of the Week on Oct. 6 and Oct. 13. Brooke Fox, a freshman, holds Liberty's one-meter diving record, 236.93, which she set at TCU on Oct. 9.

Kendall Hough was named CCSA Women's Swimmer of the Week on Oct. 20, her second career weekly honor. She currently ranks fifth in CCSA in the 50 free (23.55) and sixth in the 100 back (56.61). Hough holds Liberty's program records in the 50 back (24.97) and 100 back (53.98), set at the 2015 CCSA Championships. She has posted six event wins this season.

Kristin VanDeventer has won the 1000 free on three occasions this season. She swam a season-best 10:26.08 at James Madison, a time that is ranked fourth on the current CCSA performance list. Her lifetime-best 16:54.95 in the 1650 free at the 2015 Rutgers Invitational is ranked third in the CCSA this year and second in program history.

Alicia Finnigan has made an immediate impact as a freshman. Her 200 fly time of 2:03.93 on Oct. 10 is ranked fourth in program history, and fifth in the CCSA for 2015-16. She also holds the eighth best 100 fly (56.66) time in the conference this season.

Prudence Rooker leads the team with seven individual event victories so far this season. She won the 100 IM in 57.76 at TCU, the third fastest 100 IM time in the CCSA this year and second best in program history. She ranks eighth in the conference in the 200 IM (2:05.34).

Victoria Tschoke has posted the fifth fastest 200 back time in the CCSA this season, at 2:02.81. She has picked up three 200 back victories so far, including in the Lady Flames' last dual meet, at James Madison.

Current Lady Flames with Program Records
1000 Free – Hannah Wakeley (10:06.55; 2/21/15)
1,650 Free – Hannah Wakeley (16:45.43; 2/21/15)
50 Back – Kendall Hough (24.97 – L; 2/18/15)
100 Back – Kendall Hough (53.98; 2/20/15)
1-Meter Diving – Brooke Fox (236.93; 10/9/15)
3-Meter Diving – Courtney Fox (222.25; 10/17/15)

Florida Gulf Coast
Florida Gulf Coast (7-0) won its sixth CCSA Championship in the last seven years, earning the 2015 title. The Eagles went on to place 26th at the 2015 NCAA Division I Women's Swimming & Diving Championship. This year, FGCU has been ranked as highly as No. 19 in the nation, with wins over Notre Dame, Utah and Florida State.

This season, six Eagles have combined to post 10 NCAA B cut performances, as FGCU holds the top 2015-16 CCSA time in every swimming event but one. Elise Haan leads the CCSA with B cuts in the 100 free (49.82), 200 free (1:47.25), 100 back (52.32) and 200 back (1:56.43). Lani Cabrera, defending conference champion in the 200 free and 500 free, holds the top CCSA time in the 500 free (4:47.43) and 1650 free (16:35.50) this year. Katie Armitage is the CCSA leader in the 100 breaststroke (1:01.49) and 200 breaststroke (2:15.17) after winning both events at the 2015 conference championship meet. Katie Latham (50 free – 22.32), Sandra Wilk (100 back – 54.18) and Barbara Caraballo (2:00.53) all have recorded a B cut this year.

NC State
NC State (3-1) enters the week ranked 19th in the nation. The Wolfpack placed 17th at the 2015 NCAA Championships. A total of seven All-Americans and six ACC champions, between individual, relay and diving, returns to the Wolfpack roster from a year ago.

This year's squad contains six program record-holders, as the Wolfpack has set four school records so far this season. Defending ACC 50 free champion and All-American Riki Bonnema is ranked seventh in the nation and second in the ACC with a 22.04 this season. Alexia Zevnik is rated in the top 20 nationally in five events, highlighted by fourth in the 100 back (51.65) and eighth in the 200 individual medley (1:56.53). Kayla Brumbaum ranks 15th in the NCAA in the 100 breaststroke (1:00.14) and 20th in the 200 breaststroke (2:10.62). Additional program record holders on the current roster include Lydia jones (200 fly), Rachel Muller (200 free, 500 free, 1650 free) and Rachel Mumma (one-meter diving).

Central Connecticut State
Central Connecticut brings a 2-2 record into the New Year, with wins over LIU Post and Bryant. CCSU finished seventh at the Frank Elm Rutgers Invitational in November. The team was picked to finish second in the NEC after claiming the team title at the 2015 NEC Championships. 2015 NEC Coach of the Year Bill Ball guides the Blue Devils.

Maddy Garber, the 2015 NEC Rookie of the Meet, set conference records while winning the 100 breaststroke (1:01.78) and 200 breaststroke (2:13.37) at the league meet. She holds NCAA B cuts and leads the NEC in both events this year. Christine Rasile is a two-time NEC champion in the 100 free. Lauren Czulewicz has swum the fastest 200 free time in the conference this year (1:52.43) after placing second in the event at the 2015 NEC Championships. Aidan Devers leads the NEC with a 2:01.89 200 back as a freshman.

Following their time in Fort Myers, Fla., Liberty will return to Lynchburg for home meets on three straight days. The Lady Flames will welcome Campbell to LaHaye Aquatic Center next Friday at 5 p.m. Liberty will host UNC Asheville for two meets, Saturday at 5 p.m. and Sunday at noon.