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Finnigan's 10th-Place Finish Highlights Liberty's Time at Nationals

July 28, 2018  Irvine, Calif.  RSS
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Alicia Finnigan placed 10th in the 200-meter butterfly at the 2018 Phillips 66 National Championships.

Alicia Finnigan placed 10th in the 200-meter butterfly at the 2018 Phillips 66 National Championships.

Liberty athletes had a great showing at the 2018 Phillips 66 National Championships, which began Wednesday at William Woollett Aquatics Center in Irvine, Calif.        

Rising senior Alicia Finnigan, along with junior Brittany Weiss and sophomores Lindsey Cohee and Payton Keiner, all attained best times at this week's meet. Several lifetime bests and Winter Nationals qualifiers highlighted Liberty's participation. Finnigan scored in the 200-meter butterfly at Phillips 66 Nationals for the second year in a row, becoming the first Lady Flame to score in multiple USA Swimming National meets.

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.

To date, Liberty has had four scoring performances 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. Finnigan tied for 10th in the 200-meter butterfly at last year's Phillips 66 Nationals before taking 10th place outright this week.

Additionally, incoming freshman Gianni Pitto swam lifetime bests in the 100 breaststroke (1:11.60 – 50th place) and 200 breaststroke (2:31.98 – 34th place).

Wednesday, July 25
200-Meter Butterfly     

In morning prelims of the 200-meter butterfly, Finnigan qualified for the B Final for the second year in a row, swimming 2:11.74. Cohee placed 68th overall in a lifetime-best 2:16.98.

Finnigan then took second in the B Final at night, trimming .24 seconds off of her lifetime best while placing 10th overall in 2:10.50. Her outright 10th-place finish is the highest by a Lady Flame at any national competition. She joined back-to-back champion Hali Flickinger, Dakota Luther and Sarah Gibson as the only four swimmers to place in the top 10 in the Phillips 66 200-meter butterfly in both 2017 and 2018.

Thursday, July 26
200-Meter Backstroke     

A rising sophomore, Keiner competed in her first Phillips 66 Nationals swim as a Lady Flame, clocking a lifetime-best 2:16.04 in the 200 backstroke. Her time was good for 49th place out of 77 entrants, while she lowered her personal best time by .71 seconds, a time attained at the 2017 YMCA Long Course Nationals.

50-Meter Butterfly
Finnigan followed up her 10th-place 200 fly performance with another lifetime best, this time in the 50 butterfly. She finished one length of the pool in a best time of 28.12. Competing in the fifth heat, she placed fifth in her heat and 55th overall in prelims.

Friday, July 27
100-Meter Butterfly

On Friday, Finnigan wrapped up her live participation at Nationals with a 1:00.61 in the 100-meter butterfly, taking 40th place overall. The senior entered the event with the 54th seed, and missed matching her lifetime-best of 1:00.59 by just two-tenths of a second.

50-Meter Backstroke
Weiss made her first out of two appearances on the weekend, competing against a challenging field in the 50-meter backstroke. She swam the one-length race in a lifetime-best 31.07, placing 82nd in the event.

Time Trials
Cohee and Keiner both completed time trials on Friday. Keiner swam 1:02.62 in the 100 backstroke, a time that meets the qualifying standard for the 2018 USA Swimming Winter National Championships.

Cohee also earned a Winter Nationals cut in the 100 butterfly, clocking a 1:02.12 which was nearly a lifetime best.

Saturday, July 28
100-Meter Backstroke

Weiss brought Liberty's time at Phillips 66 Nationals to a close on Saturday, taking 101st place in the 100-meter backstroke in a time of 1:06.73, as she was .10 away from a best time.

Time Trials
In a Saturday afternoon time trial, Cohee lowered her 200 fly best time to 2:16.38, .60 faster than her time from Wednesday.

Finnigan swam a lifetime-best 4:24.38 in the 400 freestyle, while Keiner clocked a 26.74 in the 50 free.

All of Liberty's swimmers turned in times which qualified for the 2018 USA Swimming Winter National Championships, to be held Nov. 28 through Dec. 1 in Greensboro, N.C.