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Lady Flames Move Up to 1st Midway Through CCSA Championships

February 15, 2018  Lynchburg, Va.   RSS
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Emily Manly finished second in the 500 free at the CCSA Championships on Thursday.

Emily Manly finished second in the 500 free at the CCSA Championships on Thursday.

After a great second night at the CCSA Championships that included two victories, Liberty moved into sole possession of first place, Thursday at Georgia's Gabrielsen Natatorium.

Liberty now leads the team standings halfway through the meet with 582 points, while three-time defending conference champion Florida Gulf Coast is 30 points behind, with 552. Georgia Southern is third (346), followed by Incarnate Word (306) in fourth and Gardner-Webb in fifth with 259 points.

On Thursday, Liberty earned podium positioning in all four events, with six top-three finishes (five individual, one team), three NCAA B cuts and two program records.

Liberty's most exciting finish came in the 200 freestyle relay, as Colleen Donlin swam a 22.15 to chase down and pass FGCU's Hannah Burdge at the finish, 1:29.91 to 1:30.02. The Lady Flames set a new program record in the event, as Hannah Baker (22.89), Prudence Rooker (22.62), Brittany Weiss (22.25) and Donlin combined for the winning effort.

For the second year in a row, Liberty got a big boost from its 500 freestylers to start the second evening's finals. Emily Manly (4:49.35) and Alicia Finnigan (4:50.25) placed second and third, respectively, both in lifetime-best efforts. Manly is the second Lady Flame all-time to break 4:50 in the 500 freestyle. Shelby Black took sixth in 4:53.95, while Payton Keiner's 4:54.74 was good for eighth. Elizabeth Magnusson won the B Final, claiming ninth overall in a lifetime-best 4:54.52. Ashlee Sall placed 11th in 4:57.59, and Morgan Noonan (5:05.59) finished 16th overall.

Rooker got her first career CCSA event victory, claiming the win in the 200 IM in a program-record and NCAA B cut time 2:00.12. She is the first Lady Flame since Emilie Kaufman in 2014 to win the 200 IM at the CCSA Championships. Kiah Francis clocked a lifetime-best 2:02.11 for fourth, while Lindsey Cohee's personal-best 2:03.56 placed seventh. Francis' 200 IM is now third on the program's all-time top 10 performers list in the event.

Similarly to the 500 free, Liberty went 2-3 in the 50 free. Hannah Baker finished as runner-up in B cut 22.81, while Donlin took third in a lifetime-best, NCAA B cut 22.86. Baker and Donlin are the seventh and eighth Lady Flames to break 23 seconds in the 50 free all-time. Weiss' 23.07, a personal best, gave her fifth place, while Rachel Hoeve touched the wall eighth in 23.29. Chelsea Pond won the C Final, taking 17th overall in 23.51, while Ricki Lee Hodges (23.60) and Ashley Mauzy (23.75) finished 20th and 22nd, respectively.

Preliminary Round Recap
Liberty opened morning prelims with a bang, earning four A finalists and three B finalists in the 500 free. Six Lady Flames broke 5:00 in the morning. Keiner (3rd, 4:53.47), Black (4th, 4:54.34) and Manly (6th, 4:54.63) all swam lifetime bests up to that point, while Finnigan qualified seventh in 4:54.82. Magnusson placed 11th in prelims with a 4:57.32, while Sall was 12th in 4:58.07. Noonan earned the final spot in the B Final, placing 16th overall with her best time of 5:02.13.

Liberty went 3-for-3 in qualifying for the 200 IM A Final, as Rooker's 2:01.94 served as the fastest time in the morning in the event. Francis clocked a then personal-best 2:02.58 for third, while Cohee claimed seventh position in 2:03.73, a lifetime best at the time.

Baker (22.77) and Donlin (22.89) took second and third in 50 free heats, both in NCAA B cut and personal-best times. Hoeve swam 23.08 for fifth, while Weiss' best time of 23.21 was good for sixth. Mauzy (18th, 23.75), Pond (19th, 23.78) and Hodges (24th, 23.85) all made the C Final. In exhibition swims, Danielle Boothe went 23.95, while Corrilynn Lynch swam 24.44. Siani Null (24.57), Jasmine Duguid (24.63) and Allie Murphy (25.25) all turned in best times.

Tomorrow's action on day three of the 2018 CCSA Swimming & Diving Championships begins at 10 a.m. with preliminary heats of the 100 fly. Friday's program will also feature the 400 individual medley, 200 free, 100 breaststroke, 100 back, one-meter diving and 400 medley relay.