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Finnigan, Keiner Selected to Compete in NCAA Championships

February 28, 2018  Lynchburg, Va.  RSS
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(L-R) Alicia Finnigan and Payton Keiner were selected to compete in the 2018 NCAA Women's Swimming & Diving Championships.

(L-R) Alicia Finnigan and Payton Keiner were selected to compete in the 2018 NCAA Women's Swimming & Diving Championships.

Official Release

The Liberty swimming & diving team will send two athletes to the 2018 NCAA Division I Women's Swimming & Diving Championships, as junior Alicia Finnigan and freshman Payton Keiner have been selected to compete.

The 2018 NCAA Division I Women's Swimming & Diving Championships will be hosted by Ohio State at the McCorkle Aquatic Pavilion, March 14-17 in Columbus, Ohio.

Keiner is the second Liberty freshman to be selected to the NCAA Swimming & Diving Championships, joining Jess Reinhardt (2013). Finnigan earns her second straight nationals appearance, joining Reinhardt (2013-14) as the only two Lady Flames to date to compete in multiple NCAA Championships.

This is the fifth time in eight years of program history that at least one Lady Flame will compete in the NCAA Division I 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 Reinhardt (10th in 100 fly, 2014).

Finnigan will contest the 100 fly on March 16, followed by the 200 fly on March 17. In 2017, she placed 31st in the 200 fly and 50th in the 100 fly at the NCAA Championships. She punched her ticket to nationals last Saturday at the Liberty Last Chance Meet, swimming a conference and program-record 1:55.33 in the 200 fly while breaking her own previous record of 1:56.15. Finnigan swam a B cut 53.53 in the 100 fly at the CCSA Championships.

A native of Sugar Land, Texas, Finnigan is a seven-time CCSA medalist, including wins in the 200 fly as both a sophomore and a junior. She participated in the 2016 U.S. Olympic Team Trials, and also earned a 10th-place finish at the 2017 Phillips 66 Nationals in the 200-meter fly.

Keiner will swim in the 100 backstroke on March 16, followed by the 200 backstroke the following night. She earned her spot at NCAA's with a conference and program-record 200 backstroke time of 1:53.29 last Sunday at the Liberty Last Chance Meet. Her record swim came on her literal last chance to qualify for the season. She has also posted B cuts in the 100 back (53.58) and 100 free (49.73). Keiner earned two podium finishes at the 2018 CCSA Championships, winning the 200 back and finishing second in the 100 back.

Hailing from Cincinnati, Ohio, Keiner is the program record holder in the 50 back (24.96) and 200 back (1:53.29), while ranking second in 100 back (53.58), third in the 100 free and sixth in the 500 free.