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Finnigan, Keiner to Represent Liberty at Phillips 66 Nationals

July 30, 2019  Lynchburg, Va.  RSS
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Stanford's Avery Aquatic Center is the site of the 2019 Phillips 66 National Championships.

Stanford's Avery Aquatic Center is the site of the 2019 Phillips 66 National Championships.

Phillips 66 National Championships Site

Live Results

The Liberty swimming & diving team will send two athletes to the 2019 Phillips 66 National Championships, held Wednesday through Sunday at Stanford's Avery Aquatic Center in Stanford, Ca.

Rising junior Payton Keiner and 2019 Liberty graduate Alicia Finnigan will compete in two events each this week. Liberty returns to the site of its first-ever national championship appearance, as the Lady Flames sent four athletes to the 2011 USA Swimming National Championships at Avery Aquatic Center.

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 will be available on the swimming schedule page on LibertyFlames.com. For the full TV/streaming schedule, please, click here.

What's at Stake
Athletes competing in the Phillips 66 National Championships are looking to showcase their talents for USA Swimming, while also attempting to earn qualifying times for the 2020 U.S. Olympic Team Trials, which will take place June 21-28 in Omaha, Neb. Finnigan has already earned her spot at the 2020 Olympic Trials in both the 100 and 200 butterfly, while Keiner is aiming to clinch her place this weekend. Athletes have until next June to qualify for the Olympic Trials.

This is the ninth 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 fifth appearance in the Phillips 66 Nationals, and third in a row. Finnigan finished 10th in the 200-meter butterfly at Phillips 66 Nationals in both 2017 and 2018.

Finnigan is one of three Liberty swimmers 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 championship (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 31
Women's 200-Meter Butterfly (Noon ET)

Liberty's entrant: Alicia Finnigan

How she qualified: Finnigan looks to continue her strong USA Swimming Nationals career, as she finished a program-best fifth in the 200 fly at the 2018 USA Swimming Winter National Championships. Her 2:10.50 from last year's Nationals has her seeded 15th this year.

The Sugar Land, Texas, native graduated in May as the most decorated swimmer in program history. She is a four-time CSCAA Scholar All-American, a two-time CoSIDA Academic All-American and three-time CCSA event champion.

The field is headlined by top-seeded Hali Flickinger (2:05.87) and No. 2 seed Katie Drabot (2:06.67), who both medaled at the recently-completed FINA World Championships. Flickinger earned silver while Drabot took home the bronze. Team USA members Regan Smith, Dakota Luther and Olivia Carter are also on the pre-scratch psych sheet in the 200 fly.

Thursday, Aug. 1
Women's 200-Meter Backstroke (2:03 p.m. ET)
Liberty's entrant:
Payton Keiner

How she qualified: Keiner qualified for this meet by swimming 1:54.25 during her victorious 200 backstroke victory at the 2019 CCSA Championships. Already a three-time CCSA event winner just two years into her career, Keiner is the CCSA record holder in the 200 backstroke.

She will be competing at Phillips 66 Nationals for the second year in a row, as she competed in the 200-meter backstroke last year. Keiner's lifetime best is 2:16.04, and the U.S. Olympic Trials standard sits at 2:14.69.

Keiner will take on a challenging field that is headlined by 17-year-old Regan Smith, who set a new world record in the 200-meter backstroke (2:03.35) at the FINA World Championships last week in South Korea. Hali Flickinger is seeded second at 2:08.36, while third-seeded Asia Seidt (2:08.56) is a member of Team USA for this event.

Friday, Aug. 2
Women's 100-Meter Butterfly (1:30 p.m. ET)
Liberty's entrant:
Alicia Finnigan

How she qualified: Finnigan's 1:00.21 from the Virginia Senior Championships on June 17 guaranteed her a spot in both the Phillips 66 Nationals and the 2020 U.S. Olympic Team Trials. She is the first Liberty swimmer to qualify for multiple events at Olympic Trials, and will be the first Lady Flame (current or former) to compete in multiple Olympic Trials. Finnigan has the 49th fastest qualifying time in the 100-meter butterfly.

Kelsey Dahlia, a 2016 Olympic Gold medalist in the 4 X 100 medley relay, has the fastest seed time at 56.44. Amanda Kendall is seeded second at 57.80, while Mallory Comerford (58.52) and Regan Smith (58.56) are third and fourth, respectively.

Saturday, Aug. 3
Women's 100-Meter Back (2:08 p.m. ET)
Liberty's entrant:
Payton Keiner

How she qualified: Keiner actually punched her ticket to the 2019 Phillips 66 Nationals at last year's Phillips 66 National Championships, swimming a 1:02.65 in time trials. Since the qualification period for the 2020 U.S. Olympic Team Trials began last November, she needs a time of 1:02.69 or better between now and next June in order to make it to the Olympic Trials. Keiner has swum 1:02.82 in the 100-meter backstroke this month, so she is nearing the mark.

The 100-meter backstroke features current world record holder Regan Smith, whose 57.57 leadoff leg in the 4 X 100 meter medley relay set a new 100-meter backstroke record at the World Championships last week. 2016 Olympian Olivia Smoliga (58.73), who earned bronze in the 100-meter backstroke at the 2019 World Championship, is the only other swimmer with a sub-1:00 seed time.