Olivia Robinson was named VaSID Rookie Diver of the Year
Liberty freshman Olivia Robinson was voted 2019 Virginia Sports Information Directors (VaSID) State Rookie Diver of the Year, highlighting six VaSID honors received by the Liberty swimming & diving team.
The VaSID All-State Women's Swimming & Diving Team featured nomination and voting by sports information directors from all around the Commonwealth of Virginia. This is the first year that VaSID has sponsored a swimming & diving awards program.
In addition to Robinson's Rookie Diver of the Year award, Liberty received five second-team honors on the inaugural VaSID Women's Swimming & Diving Team. Senior Alicia Finnigan (butterfly), redshirt sophomore Mikayla Herich (IM), sophomore Payton Keiner (backstroke) and freshman Gianni Pitto (breaststroke) were all named to the second team. Also, Liberty's 800 freestyle relay of Hannah Baker, Emily Zimcosky, Emily Manly and Herich received second-team mention.
Robinson, a native of Friendswood, Texas, helped put Liberty's diving program on the map as a freshman. She became the first Liberty diver to qualify for the NCAA Zone Championships on one-meter, three-meter and platform. Additionally, she placed second in one-meter and three-meter diving at the CCSA Championships. A two-time CCSA Women's Diver of the Week honoree, Robinson is Liberty's program record holder on platform (229.58).
Finnigan, a senior from Sugar Land, Texas, capped off one of the top swimming careers in program history. She set a program record with 10 career CCSA podium appearances, including three straight victories at the conference championships in the 200 fly. A two-time NCAA participant, Finnigan concluded her career as the program's top performer at 200 fly (1:55.58). This year, she won the 200 fly and placed second in the 100 fly at the CCSA Championships.
Hailing from Hebron, Ky., Herich made an immediate impact at Liberty during her first year after transferring from Ohio. She won the 200 IM at the CCSA Championships in a program-record NCAA B cut time of 1:59.82. Herich clocked a B cut 4:15.23 to take second in the CCSA 400 IM A Final. The redshirt sophomore was named CCSA Women's Swimmer of the Week on Oct. 31.
A Cincinnati, Ohio, native, Keiner continued her dominance in the backstroke. The 2018 Most Outstanding Freshman of the CCSA Meet, Keiner won both the 100 and 200 backstroke at the 2019 CCSA Championships. Her leadoff leg (52.82) of the 400 medley relay helped spark Liberty's CCSA championship in the event. Also, her 52.82 was just .01 off of the program record for the 100 backstroke.
Pitto, a native of Lodi, Calif., was named the 2019 Most Outstanding Freshman of the CCSA Meet. She had an impressive season, posting a program-record 20 individual-event victories. Additionally, she earned top-three CCSA finishes in the 200 IM (first), 100 breaststroke (second) and 200 breaststroke (second). Pitto became the first swimmer in program history to be named CCSA Women's Swimmer of the Week twice as a freshman.
The Lady Flames won the 800 freestyle relay at the 2019 CCSA Championships in a time of 7:13.46. That was the second fastest 800 free relay time in program history.
These student-athletes helped the Lady Flames earn a perfect 15-0 record in dual meets, including 6-0 against CCSA opponents. Liberty claimed its second CCSA title, and first since 2014, outscoring four-time defending conference champion FGCU by nearly 200 points at the CCSA meet.
2018-19 VaSID All-State Women's Swimming & Diving Team Swimmer of the Year – Paige Madden, UVA Rookie Swimmer of the Year – Alexis Wenger, UVA Diver of the Year – Kylie Towbin, UVA Rookie Diver of the Year – Olivia Robinson, Liberty Coach of the Year – Todd DeSorbo, UVA
First-Team All-State Free – Morgan Hill, UVA Free – Paige Madden, UVA Free – Ali MacQueen, W&L Free – Megan Moroney, UVA Free – Kyla Valls, UVA Back – Megan Moroney, UVA Back – Emma Seiberlich, UVA Breast – Alexis Wenger, UVA Breast – Kaki Christensen, UVA Fly – Morgan Hill, UVA Fly – Jessica Nava, UVA IM – Reka Gyorgy, VT IM – Abby Richter, UVA Diving – Kylie Towbin, UVA Diving – Faith Anderson, JMU Diving – Sydney Dusel, UVA 200 Free Relay – Virginia 400 Free Relay – Virginia 800 Free Relay – Virginia 200 Medley Relay – Virginia 400 Medley Relay – Virginia
Second-Team All-State Free – Bonnie Zhang, JMU Free – Megan Bull, W&M Free – Joelle Vereb, VT Free – Julianna Jones, JMU Free – Caroline Florence, W&L Back – Hannah Gouger, UR Back – Payton Keiner, Liberty Breast – Emily Hageboeck, W&L Breast – Gianni Pitto, Liberty Fly – Alicia Finnigan, Liberty Fly – Morgan Whaley, JMU IM – Caroline Baber, W&L IM – Mikayla Herich, Liberty Diving – Ashlynn Peters, VT Diving – Marina Toone, GMU Diving – Emily Gross, JMU 200 Free Relay – Washington & Lee 400 Free Relay – James Madison 400 Free Relay - Washington & Lee 800 Free Relay – Liberty 200 Medley Relay – Washington & Lee 400 Medley Relay – Washington & Lee
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