Liberty sophomore Alicia Finnigan is set to compete in the 2017 NCAA Division I Women's Swimming & Diving Championships.
The national championship meet will be hosted at IU Natatorium in Indianapolis, Ind., Wednesday through Saturday. Finnigan will swim the 100 fly on Friday, followed by the 200 fly on Saturday. Earlier this week, LFSN reporter Alan York had a chance to interview Finnigan.
How to Follow the Lady Flames Live results and live video streaming will be available throughout the championships. The finals sessions on Friday and Saturday nights will appear live on ESPN3. Additionally, tape delay coverage of the meet will be broadcast on ESPNU at 7 p.m. on March 28.
What's at Stake Each day of the national meet begins at 10 a.m. (EDT), with preliminary heats. Finals sessions will begin at 6 p.m. (EDT) each evening.
The NCAA Championships will feature a four-day meet format. The top 16 times from each event in morning prelims qualify for evening finals, with the top eight swimming in the A Final. Those who complete races in the A Final earn All-America first team status, while B finalists are named honorable mention All-Americans.
How She Got Here Finnigan earned her spot at nationals by swimming a lifetime-best 1:56.15 in finals of the 200 fly at the Feb. 26 Bulldog Last Chance Meet in Athens, Ga. Her time of 1:56.15 is a new program and CCSA record.
She has also posted a B cut in the 100 fly with a personal-best 53.74 at the 2017 CCSA Championships.
The Sugar Land, Texas, native will be Liberty's fourth swimmer all-time to compete in an individual event at the NCAA Women's Swimming & Diving Championships. The Lady Flames have had two All-America honorable mention finishers, in Brye Ravettine (13th in 50 free, 2012) and Jess Reinhardt (10th in 100 fly, 2014).
Finnigan is a four-time CCSA medalist, finishing in the top three in the 500 free (3rd), 100 fly (2nd) and 200 fly (1st) at the 2017 conference meet while placing second in the 200 fly last year. She participated in the 2016 U.S. Olympic Team Trials, placing 44th in the 200-meter fly.
Friday, March 17 On Friday, Finnigan will begin her participation, competing in morning prelims of the 100 fly. Her qualifying time of 53.74 is ranked 54th on the pre-scratch psych sheet. Last year, it took 51.58 to make the A final, while 52.39 qualified for the B final. Finnigan is joined by CCSA rival Christian Kaas Elmgreen of Florida Gulf Coast, who is 50th, at 53.50.
The 2015 and 2016 100 fly national champion, Kelsie Worrell of Louisville, graduated after winning in NCAA, American and U.S. Open-record 49.43. Only three out of the top eight from last year are entered this week. Stanford junior Janet Hu has the top seed at 50.38, followed by USC freshman Louise Hansson (50.39) and Farida Osman of California (50.40). The top returning athlete from last year's 100 fly final, Georgia's Megan Kingsley, has swum 52.58 after finishing third in 2016 in 50.84. Fourth-seeded Noemie Thomas of Cal (50.44) placed eighth last year.
Saturday, March 18 Finnigan will compete in the 200 fly on Saturday, an event which has her seeded 28th, in 1:56.15. Last year, it took 1:54.53 to qualify for the A Final, and 1:55.87 to make the B Final.
Worrell also won back-to-back 200 fly national titles the last two years, winning in 1:50.96 in 2016. A total of five A finalists return from last season, and 11 out of the top 16 finishers. Last year's runner-up, Ella Eastin of Stanford, is seeded first at 1:51.85. Sarah Gibson of Texas A&M is second at 1:52.64 after tying for fifth in 2016. USC's Madison Wright placed 20th last year, and is seeded third (1:52.67). Chelsea Britt of Georgia (1:52.72) and Virginia's Kaitlyn Jones (1:52.93) are the only remaining swimmers to break 1:53 in the event this season.
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