Psych Sheet The Liberty swimming & diving team will finish the fall portion of its 2016-17 season this weekend, competing in the Frank Elm Invite, Friday through Sunday in Piscataway, N.J. The eight-team invitational, hosted by Rutgers, will take place at the Rutgers Aquatic Center.
Liberty went 5-1 in dual meets this fall, including 1-0 against CCSA opponents. This will be the seventh year in a row in which the Lady Flames have competed in a mid-season invitational, and second straight trip to the Frank Elm Invite.
Last year, the Lady Flames placed fifth out of 10 teams at the Frank Elm Invite, scoring 770.5 points.
New Jersey is the home state of current Liberty junior Rachel Rippey. Additionally, current Liberty assistant coach Jessica Barnes served as an assistant coach at Rutgers during the 2009-10 season before joining the inaugural Liberty swimming & diving coaching staff.
This week's meet will feature a championship format, similar to the program that will be followed at the 2017 CCSA Swimming & Diving Championships and 2017 NCAA Championships. The three-day program will consist of two sessions each day, with preliminary heats in the morning and finals in the evening.
Half of this weekend's eight teams finished in the top two of their respective conferences last year. Central Connecticut won the NEC title last year, while Navy captured the Patriot League championship. Liberty took second in the CCSA, while James Madison was the CAA runner-up. Additional teams competing at the Frank Elm Invite are Columbia, LIU Brooklyn, Northeastern and host Rutgers.
How to Follow the Lady Flames Fans unable to attend the Rutgers Invitational can follow the action through live timing, provided by Rutgers.
Liberty has received national recognition again this year. On Oct. 17, the Lady Flames were ranked No. 34 on the CollegeSwimming.com Team Rankings, and seventh in the CollegeSwimming.com mid-Major Rankings.
The Lady Flames had a big weekend in Colorado, Oct. 7-8, at the Intermountain Shootout.
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.
In their last meet, the Lady Flames fell at James Madison, 168.5-125.5, on Oct. 15 in Harrisonburg, Va. Brittany Weiss (100 back, 100 fly) and Prudence Rooker (100 breaststroke, 200 IM) both won a pair of events. Delia Weber (1,000 free), Alicia Finnigan (200 fly) and Rachel Hoeve (50 free) earned one win apiece at JMU.
Current Lady Flames with CCSA Swimmer/Diver of the Week Honors Prudence Rooker – Swimmer of the Week (Nov. 4, 2014) Brooke Fox – Diver of the Week (Oct. 6, 2015) Brooke Fox – Diver of the Week (Oct. 13, 2015) Jenna Joyal – Diver of the Week (Oct. 11, 2016)
Top Marks Liberty holds at least one of the top three times in the CCSA in the following individual races this season: 1,650 freestyle – Delia Weber (1st - 17:45.20) 100 breaststroke – Prudence Rooker (2nd - 1:04.68) 50 freestyle – Rachel Hoeve (3rd – 23.40) 100 IM – Prudence Rooker (2nd – 57.73), Brittany Weiss (3rd - 58.65)
Prudence Rooker has had a standout start to this season, winning eight individual events so far. Her 100 IM time at the Intermountain Shootout, 57.73, is ranked 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, setting a regular-season personal best of 51.93 for the 100 free against James Madison. At the Intermountain Shootout, she won the 50 free in 23.40. Hoeve has claimed victory in the 50 free at all three meets so far this season.
Brittany Weiss pocketed a pair of victories at James Madison, winning the 100 back (57.57) and 100 fly (57.66). That marked back-to-back meets with two wins each for Weiss. Her 100 IM time of 58.65 ranks third on Liberty's all-time top 10.
Alicia Finnigan won the 200 fly in 2:05.21 at James Madison. She claimed the 400 IM in 4:30.18 at the Intermountain Shootout. Finnigan's 4:30.18 is ranked third in program history for 400 IM.
Delia Weber swam 10:28.93 to win the 1,000 free on Oct. 15. Her time of 17:45.20 in the 1,650 free at the Intermountain Shootout is the fastest by a CCSA swimmer so far this year.
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 68-27 dual-meet record, twice being named CCSA Women's Swimming Coach of the Year.
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.
Following this weekend's invitational, Liberty's next meet will be at Florida Gulf Coast, as the Lady Flames will compete against the two-time defending CCSA Champion FGCU Eagles, Jan. 7 at 10 a.m. in Fort Myers, Fla.
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