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Hoeve, Baker Set for U.S. Open

August 2, 2017  Lynchburg, Va.  RSS
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(L-R) Rachel Hoeve and Hannah Baker will compete in the 50-meter freestyle at the 2017 U.S. Open, Sunday.

(L-R) Rachel Hoeve and Hannah Baker will compete in the 50-meter freestyle at the 2017 U.S. Open, Sunday.

2017 U.S. Open

A pair of Liberty swimmers, rising sophomore Hannah Baker and rising senior Rachel Hoeve, will compete in the U.S. Open, held Wednesday through Sunday at Nassau County Aquatics Center in East Meadow, N.Y.

Both Baker and Hoeve will be competing in the 50-meter freestyle, which will be contested on Sunday. Hoeve earned her spot at the U.S. Open courtesy of a qualifying time attained at the 2017 CCSA Swimming & Diving Championships. She then lowered her entry time to 26.27 at the Virginia Senior Championships, while Baker swam 26.41 that weekend to meet the U.S. Open standard. Hoeve is listed 40th on the psych sheet, while Baker is 53rd.

This will be the second national meet for Liberty swimmers to compete at this summer. Alicia Finnigan tied for 10th place in the 200-meter fly at the Phillips 66 National Championships on June 27 in Indianapolis, Ind., swimming an impressive 2:10.74 in the B Final.

The Lady Flames have had at least one swimmer compete at the national or international level each of the last seven years. This will be the second time that Liberty has sent swimmers to the U.S. Open. Emilie Kaufman finished 13th in the 100 breaststroke at the 2013 U.S. Open, when Liberty had five representatives at the meet.

How to Follow the Action     
Fans can follow the meet through live results and live video streaming, both courtesy of USASwimming.org. Links to both are available on the swimming schedule page on LibertyFlames.com.

Preliminary heats for each event will be held beginning at 9 a.m. each day. The top 24 times from preliminaries in each event advance to that evening's final round.

Finishing first through eighth earns a spot in the championship (A) final, while a 9-16 qualification garners a place in the consolation (B) final. Scoring will be a 16-place basis. Individual events will be scored: 20-17-16-15-14-13-12-11-9-7-6-5-4-3-2-1. There will be a bonus (C) final for qualifiers numbered 17-24.

Hailing from Zeeland, Mich., Hoeve dominated the 50 free as a junior. She won the 50 free all six times she contested it during dual meets in the 2016-17 season. Hoeve claimed fourth place in the 50 free at the CCSA meet in NCAA B cut, personal-best 22.76. In June, she was honored with CSCAA Scholar All-America honorable mention. She will enter her senior year tied for third in program history in the 50 free, fifth in both 50 back and 100 back and tied for sixth in 100 free.

A native of Fairfax, Va., Baker had a standout freshman campaign, qualifying for the A Final in the 50 free, 100 free and 200 free at the CCSA Championships. She swam 1:49.37 in the 200 free A Final, claiming third place. Baker swam a lifetime-best 23.02 to place sixth overall in the 50 free at the conference meet. She enters her sophomore season ranked third in program history in the 200 free, seventh in 50 free and eighth in 100 free.

The Field
The field for the U.S. Open 50-meter freestyle is highlighted by Team USA member Madison Kennedy, who has the fastest seed time, 24.39. Kennedy won bronze at the 2016 FINA World Championships, while also finishing third at the 2016 U.S. Olympic Team Trials. N.C. State teammates Courtney Caldwell (25.24) and Ky-lee Perry (25.38) are seeded second and third, respectively. Fourth-seeded Rebecca Millard (25.39) from Texas placed 10th at the 2017 NCAA Division I Women's Swimming & Diving Championship in the 50 free.

Kristin Malone from Texas A&M is seeded fifth, at 25.39. Marie Wattell of France, who competed in the 100-meter butterfly at the 2016 Rio Olympics, holds the sixth seed at 25.46. Amanda Kendall, who won the 100 free at the 2011 Pan-Am Games, is seeded seventh at 25.47. The eighth seed is held by Arizona alum Margo Geer (25.54), the 2015 Pac-12 Woman of the Year.