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Liberty Quartet Set to Compete in Phillips 66 National Championships

July 24, 2018  Lynchburg, Va.  RSS
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(L-R) Payton Keiner and Brittany Weiss are two of Liberty's four entrants in the 2018 Phillips 66 National Championships.

(L-R) Payton Keiner and Brittany Weiss are two of Liberty's four entrants in the 2018 Phillips 66 National Championships.

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The Liberty swimming & diving team will be well-represented at the 2018 Phillips 66 National Championships, held Wednesday through Sunday at William Woollett Aquatics Center in Irvine, Calif.

The Lady Flames will send four individuals to the National Championships, in rising senior Alicia Finnigan, junior Brittany Weiss and sophomores Lindsey Cohee and Payton Keiner. This is the most individuals who have competed in live heats at a USA Swimming Summer National Championship in program history.

This week's meet will help determine Team USA's roster for the 2018 Pan Pacific Championships, held Aug. 9-14 in Tokyo Japan.

How to Follow the Action
Fans can follow the meet through live results and live video streaming, both courtesy of USASwimming.org. Different portions of the meet will be available on NBC Sports Network, the Olympic Channel, NBC and nbcsports.com. Links are available on the swimming schedule page on LibertyFlames.com. For the full TV/streaming schedule, please, click here.

This is the eighth year in a row in which the Lady Flames have had at least one swimmer compete at the national or international level. It is the program's fourth appearance in the Phillips 66 Nationals, and second in a row. Finnigan had an impressive showing at the 2017 Phillips 66 National Championships in Indianapolis, swimming a lifetime-best 2:10.74 to tie for 10th place.

Finnigan is the third Liberty swimmer to score points at USA Swimming-sponsored national meets. Brye Ravettine placed 17th in the 50 free at the 2011 AT&T USA Swimming Winter National Championships, while Emilie Kaufman finished 13th in the 100 breaststroke at the 2013 U.S. Open.

Preliminary heats for each event will be held beginning at noon Eastern each day. The top 24 times from preliminaries in each event advance to that evening's final round, which starts at 9 p.m. Eastern time.

Finishing first through eighth in qualifying earns a spot in championships (A) final, while a 9-16 qualification garners a place in the consolation (B) final. There will be a bonus (C) final for qualifiers numbered 17-24. No team scores will be kept.

Events with Liberty Athletes Competing
Wednesday, July 25
Women's 200-Meter Butterfly (Noon ET)
Liberty's entrants:
Alicia Finnigan and Lindsey Cohee
How they qualified: Finnigan brings the 13th best qualifying time into this event, 2:10.74, and she will swim in a seeded heat. She clocked that time at the 2017 Phillips 66 National Championships, a major PR which tied for 10th place. The Sugar Land, Texas, native, was voted the 2018 CCSA Women's Swimmer of the Year after winning the 200 fly at the CCSA Championships for the second year in a row and placing 20th in the event at the NCAA National meet.

Cohee, a native of Charlotte, N.C., qualified for the meet with a lifetime-best 1:57.76 in the 200-yard fly at the 2018 Liberty Last Chance Meet. Cohee finished third in the 200 fly at the 2018 CCSA Championships, her first career conference podium finish.

Finnigan and Cohee are part of a field that is headlined by 2016 Olympic finalist Hali Flickinger (2:07.60) and 2018 NCAA Swimmer of the Meet Ella Eastin (2:08.61).

Thursday, July 26
Women's 200-Meter Backstroke (2:01 p.m. ET)
Liberty's entrant:
Payton Keiner
How she qualified: Payton Keiner, the 2018 CCSA Most Outstanding Freshman of the Meet, qualified for the Phillips 66 National Championships with a CCSA-record 1:53.68 in the 200-yard backstroke at the 2018 Liberty Last Chance Meet. The Cincinnati, Ohio, native is the reigning CCSA champion in the 200 backstroke. She was a 2018 CSCAA Scholar All-America first-team award winner.

Keiner will take on a challenging field that is headlined by two-time Olympic medalist Kathleen Baker at 2:06.38. Second and third seeds are held by 16-year-olds Regan Smith (2:07.19) and Isabelle Stadden (2:08.37), respectively.

Women's 50-Meter Butterfly (3:05 p.m. ET)
Liberty's entrant:
Alicia Finnigan
How she qualified: The qualifiers for the 50-meter butterfly made this event through times attained in the 100-meter fly. Finnigan brings the 42nd best 100-meter fly time in the event, as she swam a 1:00.59 on June 17 at the 2018 Virginia Poseidon Long Course Meet in Richmond, Va. Finnigan, a three-time CSCAA Scholar All-American, has placed second in the 100 fly at both the 2017 and 2018 CCSA Championships.

Finnigan's competition in the 50-meter fly will be led by Kelsi Dahlia. The former Kelsi Worrell, Dahlia set the American record in the 50-meter fly (25.48) on July 29, 2017. Dahlia won an Olympic gold relay medal in the 2016 Olympics.

Friday, July 27
Women's 100-Meter Butterfly (1:43 p.m. ET)
Liberty's entrant:
Alicia Finnigan
How she qualified: Finnigan's 1:00.59 from June 17 qualified her for both the 50 and 100-meter fly in this meet. She is ranked 51st among athletes who qualified with an LCM time. A two-time NCAA participant in both the 100 and 200 fly, Finnigan was named the 2018 ELITE 90 Award winner for NCAA Division I Women's Swimming & Diving.

As in the 50-meter fly, Dahlia has the fastest seed time in the 100-meter fly, at 56.37, 1.5 seconds faster than second-seeded Amanda Kendall (57.87).

Women's 50-Meter Back (2:37 p.m. ET)
Liberty's entrant:
Brittany Weiss
How she qualified: Sellersville, Pa., native Brittany Weiss has had a standout career in her first two years as a Lady Flame. A two-time CSCAA Scholar All-American, she qualified for both the 50-meter and 100-meter backstroke with her program-record 52.81 100-yard back time at the 2018 CCSA Championships. She has won the conference championship in the 100 backstroke each of the last two years.

Weiss will take on a field that includes both of Team USA's representatives at the 2016 Olympics, Kathleen Baker and 50-meter backstroke American record holder Olivia Smoliga.

Saturday, July 28
Women's 100-Meter Back (2:12 p.m. ET)
Liberty's entrant
: Brittany Weiss
How she qualified: Weiss made it to the Phillips 66 National Championships with her program-record 52.81, which she swam while winning the 2018 CCSA Championship for 100 backstroke. The 2017 CCSA Most Outstanding Freshman of the Meet, Weiss is the second Liberty swimmer to win the same CCSA event as both a freshman and a sophomore.

The 100-meter backstroke features the 2016 Olympic Silver medalist Kathleen Baker, who brings a seed time of 58.54 into the meet. Baker's Olympic teammate of two years ago, Olivia Smoliga, is seeded second at 58.77.