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Liberty Swimming & Diving Set to Compete at James Madison

October 13, 2016  Lynchburg, Va.  RSS
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Liberty Swimming & Diving Set to Compete at James Madison

The Liberty swimming & diving team, off to a 5-0 start to the 2016-17 season, travels to face the James Madison Dukes on Saturday at Savage Natatorium in Harrisonburg, Va. Saturday's meet is scheduled to begin at 11 a.m.

The Dukes, coming off of their sixth CAA runner-up finish in a row in 2016, begin their 2016-17 campaign on Saturday. James Madison has not lost a home dual meet since Jan. 22, 2011, when it fell to Towson, 156-144, as the Dukes have won 16 straight decisions at the Savage Natatorium.

This will be the third season in a row in which Liberty has competed at James Madison. The two teams are tied, 2-2, in the all-time series, with JMU winning both meetings at Savage Natatorium. Liberty had previously defeated the Dukes at the Virginia Tech Swimming Challenge in both 2013 and 2014.

Liberty (5-0) is off to its best start to dual-meet action in program history after sweeping all four opponents at last weekend's Intermountain Shootout in Grand Junction, Colo. The Lady Flames opened the season with a 144-134 victory at CCSA opponent Campbell, Oct. 1.

While in Colorado, Liberty won 12 out of 20 swimming events, taking dual meets from Air Force, BYU, Utah and the host Colorado Mesa Mavericks. The Lady Flames have now beaten two Pac-12 opponents in program history, also defeating Oregon State in 2014.

Joyal Named CCSA Diver of the Week
Freshman Jenna Joyal was named CCSA Women's Diver of the Week on Tuesday, her first career diver of the week honor. She finished 13th at the Intermountain Shootout in one-meter diving, and 14th in three-meter diving. Joyal is the third Liberty diver to be named CCSA Diver of the Week, joining Brooke Fox and Courtney Fox. Brooke Fox, a sophomore, is Liberty's program record holder in both the one-meter and three-meter diving events.

Top Marks
Liberty holds the top time in the CCSA in the following events so far this season:

1,650 freestyle – Delia Weber (17:45.20)
100 breaststroke – Prudence Rooker (1:04.68)
200 breaststroke – Morgan Noonan (2:22.85)

Prudence Rooker won four individual events (50 breaststroke, 100 breaststroke, 100 IM, 200 IM) at the Intermountain Shootout, giving her six individual-event victories so far this season. Her 100 IM time last weekend, 57.73, is good for second in program history. Rooker is currently ranked second in program history in the 200 breaststroke (2:16.79), 100 IM and 200 IM (2:02.29), and third in the 100 breaststroke (1:02.09).

Rachel Hoeve continued her strong start to the season, winning the 50 free in 23.40 at the Intermountain Shootout. She has set regular-season personal bests in the 50 free (23.40) and 100 free (52.01). Hoeve swam an impressive 22.65 anchor leg in the 200 free relay last weekend.

Brittany Weiss pocketed a pair of victories while in Colorado, winning the 100 back (57.23) and 50 fly (25.80). Her 100 IM of 58.65 ranks third on Liberty's all-time top 10.

Morgan Noonan won the 200 breaststroke on Saturday, in 2:22.85, while Alicia Finnigan claimed the 400 IM in 4:30.18. Finnigan's 4:30.18 is ranked third in program history for 400 IM.

Liberty is set for its final home meet at LaHaye Aquatics Center this season, hosting Campbell on Jan. 20. Construction is continuing on a brand new, state-of-the-art Olympic-sized pool with a separate diving well, which is scheduled to be ready for the 2017-18 academic year.

Head Coach Jake Shellenberger is in his seventh season at the helm, guiding the program since the inaugural 2010-11 campaign. He has posted a 68-26 dual-meet record, twice being named CCSA Women's Swimming Coach of the Year.

Finnigan returns after a successful year that culminated with an appearance at the 2016 U.S. Olympic Team Trials, where she competed in the 200-meter butterfly. Her second-place finish in the CCSA 200 fly (NCAA B cut 1:59.53) places her second in program history in that event.

The Lady Flames welcome eight student-athletes to the team this season, including six freshmen. Sophomore transfer Delia Weber joins the Liberty roster after breaking Houston's 1000 freestyle (9:58.42) and 1,650 freestyle (16:32.75) records last season. Several Liberty freshmen are projected for top-8 times at the 2017 CCSA Championships.

Liberty returns 12 student-athletes who scored points at the 2016 CCSA Championships, including eight who posted top-eight finishes. Additionally, Weber placed fourth in the 1,650 free and fifth in the 500 free at the 2016 American Athletic Conference Championships while at Houston.

James Madison
The James Madison Dukes open their 2016-17 season on Saturday. JMU went 7-0 in dual-meet action last year, and posted its fourth straight runner-up finish at the CAA Championships, scoring a total of 681.5 points.

JMU returns three individual-event winners from the 2016 CAA Championship meet, and five total all-conference competitors. Quinn MacMillan won the 200 free (1:46.92) and 500 free (4:48.75) at the 2016 CAA meet, while Katie Parker claimed the 200 IM in 2:00.26. Olivia Lehman won the one-meter diving event, scoring 290.45.

Warhol and MacMillan both hold two program records for the Dukes. Warhol is JMU's record holder in the 100 back (54.75) and 200 back (1:58.01), while MacMillan holds the top time in the 200 free (1:46.92) and 500 free (4:48.75).

Following Saturday's meet, Liberty will next compete in the Frank Elm Invite, hosted by Rutgers from Nov. 18-20 in Piscataway, N.J.

Order of Events
1. 200 Medley Relay
2. 1000 Free
3. 200 Free
4. 100 Back
5. 100 Breast
6. 200 Fly
7. 50 Free
8. 3-Meter Diving
9. 100 Free
10. 200 Back
11. 200 Breast
12. 500 Free
13. 100 Fly
14. 1-Meter Diving
15. 200 IM
16. 400 Free Relay