Following the completion of the Liberty swimming & diving team's 2015-16 season, Nick Pierce of the Liberty Flames Sports Network had the chance to catch up with head coach Jake Shellenberger.
Liberty continued its string of successful swimming & diving seasons, placing second at the CCSA Women's Swimming & Diving Championship. It marks the fifth year in a row that the Lady Flames have earned a top-two finish at the conference meet, highlighted by winning the 2014 CCSA title.
Liberty went 8-5 in dual meets this season, including 5-1 against CCSA opponents. The team posted a win over a Big 12 opponent for the first time in program history, defeating TCU in Fort Worth, Texas, on Oct. 9.
Three Lady Flames earned CCSA weekly honors at some point this season, in divers Brooke Fox and Courtney Fox and swimmer Kendall Hough.
The Lady Flames have received national recognition this season. Liberty earned its highest national rankings to date, listed 26th in the CollegeSwimming.com Team Rankings and No. 4 in the CollegeSwimming.com Mid-Major Rankings on Oct. 6.
Liberty was honored with the CSCAA Scholar All-America Team Award, earning a program-record 3.47 team GPA during the fall 2015 semester. Liberty has now received CSCAA academic honors during each of the past nine semesters. Additionally, 20 Lady Flames were named to the CCSA All-Academic Team. Liberty made the podium in every event on day four at the CCSA Championships. On the meet as a whole, the Lady Flames posted 16 podium finishes (11 individual, five relay), nine NCAA B cuts and three program records.
Senior Kendall Hough capped her career with another dominant performance at the conference meet. She placed second in the 50 free before earning third-place finishes in the 100 free and 100 back, all in NCAA B cut time. Hough set the program record for the 100 free, 49.06, her third individual team record. Additionally, she has tied former teammate Emily Duff for the second most podium finishes as a Lady Flame, seven.
Senior Natalie Beale had a standout CCSA meet for the Lady Flames, setting a new program record at 1:47.97 in the 200 free. She placed second in the 200 free, while finishing fourth in both the 100 fly and 100 back.
Junior Victoria Tschoke turned in two NCAA B cuts, in the 100 back (54.75) and 200 back (1:57.88). By placing second in the 200 back, she picked up her first career podium finish.
Senior Kristin VanDeventer picked up third-place finishes in both the 500 free and 1650 free, giving her three career top-three placings at the CCSA meet. Sophomore Prudence Rooker earned her first two conference medals, taking second in the 100 breaststroke in B cut time of 1:02.09 before finishing third in the 200 breaststroke.
Freshman Alicia Finnigan placed second in the 200 fly, clocking an NCAA B cut 1:59.53. Sophomore Rachel Hoeve swam B cut time 22.99 in the 50 free, claiming third place.
Program records set during 2015-16 season 100 free – Kendall Hough (49.06) 200 free – Natalie Beale (1:47.97) One-meter diving – Brooke Fox (236.93) Three-meter diving – Brooke Fox (224.75)
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