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Finnigan, Keiner Compete on Day 3 at NCAA Championships

March 16, 2018  Columbus, Ohio  RSS
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Payton Keiner made her NCAA nationals debut, placing 46th in 100 backstroke qualifying on Friday.

Payton Keiner made her NCAA nationals debut, placing 46th in 100 backstroke qualifying on Friday.

A pair of Liberty swimmers competed on Friday, day three of the 2018 NCAA Division I Women's Swimming & Diving Championships, held at Ohio State's McCorkle Aquatic Pavilion. Junior Alicia Finnigan placed 42nd in the 100 butterfly, while freshman Payton Keiner, making her nationals debut, finished 46th in the 100 backstroke.

Finnigan, competing at the NCAA Championships for the second year in a row, won heat one out of seven, clocking a lifetime-best 53.37. She finished 42nd overall, defeating, among others, CCSA rival Christina Kaas Elmgreen of Florida Gulf Coast. The Liberty junior swam 25.26 on the way out before closing in 28.11.

In order to make this year's B Final, it took 51.92, while 51.57 was the last qualifier for the A Final. Louise Hansson of USC took the top spot in prelims, at 49.90.

Keiner swam 53.75 in her first-ever NCAA nationals swim, placing fourth in heat one of the 100 backstroke. She placed 46th overall, beating swimmers from Florida, Tennessee, Denver and Yale. Keiner went out in 25.50 for the first 50, before swimming 28.25 on the way back.

Top-seeded Beata Nelson (Wisconsin) swam the fastest time in qualifying, 50.61. It took 51.27 to make the A Final, and 52.04 to qualify for the 100 backstroke B Final.

This is the second time in program history, and first since 2014, that multiple Lady Flames have competed at the same NCAA Division I Women's Swimming & Diving Championships. This is also the fifth time in eight years of program history that Liberty has been represented at the NCAA national meet.

The 2018 NCAA Division I Women's Swimming & Diving Championships wrap up tomorrow, with morning prelims beginning at 10 a.m. and finals starting at 6 p.m. Keiner will swim in the 200 back, while Finnigan will contest the 200 fly. They will both look to be among the top 16 qualifiers for tomorrow evening's finals in their respective events.