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5 Lady Flames to Compete in Toyota U.S. Open

December 3, 2019  Lynchburg, Va.   RSS
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Colleen Donlin will swim the 50-meter freestyle at the 2019 Toyota U.S. Open.

Colleen Donlin will swim the 50-meter freestyle at the 2019 Toyota U.S. Open.

The Liberty swimming & diving team will be represented by five student-athletes at the 2019 Toyota U.S. Open, held Wednesday through Saturday at Georgia Tech McAuley Aquatic Center in Atlanta, Ga.

The Lady Flames will send five individuals to the Toyota U.S. Open, in senior Colleen Donlin, redshirt junior Mikayla Herich, junior Lindsey Cohee, sophomore Emma Hazel and freshman Eva Suggs. Last year, Liberty sent a then program-record four athletes to the USA Swimming Winter National Championships.

How to Follow the Action
Fans can follow the meet through live results and live video streaming, both courtesy of USASwimming.org. Links are available on the swimming schedule page on LibertyFlames.com. For the full TV/streaming schedule, please, click here.

All athletes at this meet will have an opportunity to earn qualifying times for the 2020 U.S. Olympic Team Trials, which will be held June 21-28, 2020 in Omaha, Neb. Liberty has had competitors in the U.S. Olympic Team Trials in both 2012 and 2016. Former Lady Flame Alicia Finnigan (100 fly, 200 fly) and current Liberty junior Payton Keiner (100 back, 200 back) have already earned their spot at the 2020 Olympic Trials.

This is the ninth season 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 third appearance at a USA Swimming winter meet. Brye Ravettine placed 17th in the 50 free at the 2011 Winter Nationals, earning Liberty's first scoring performance at a USA Swimming national meet while also posting a qualifying time for the 2012 U.S. Olympic Team Trials.

Liberty has posted seven scoring finishes at the national level. 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 fly at the 2017 Phillips 66 National Championships before taking 10th place outright at the 2018 Phillips 66 Nationals in a lifetime-best 2:10.50. Finnigan then placed fifth in the 200 fly at the 2018 Winter Nationals. Keiner took 14th place in the 200 back at the 2019 Phillips 66 Nationals.

Preliminary heats for each event will be held beginning at 9 a.m. each day. The top 24 times from preliminaries in each event advance to that evening's final round, which starts at 6 p.m. Finals times vary due to TV coverage.

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.

Events with Liberty Athletes Competing
Thursday, Dec. 5
200 Individual Medley (10:54 a.m./B heats – 12:49 p.m.)
Olympic Trials Standard:
2:17.39
Liberty's entrant: Mikayla Herich
How she qualified: Mikayla Herich has a lifetime best of 2:18.00 (swum in 2016) in the 200-meter IM, 0.61 seconds off of the Olympic Trials standard of 2:17.39. Herich is the program record holder in the 200-yard IM, winning the conference title in the event in 1:59.82 at the 2019 CCSA Championships. She set a program record for points scored at a CCSA Championship meet, scoring 101 points in 2019.

Women's 50-Meter Freestyle (11:25 a.m./B heats – 1:39 p.m.)
Olympic Trials Standard: 25.99
Liberty's entrant:
Colleen Donlin
How she qualified: Colleen Donlin is Liberty's lone senior to make the trip to Atlanta. A native of Plymouth, Minn., Donlin will need to take 0.44 seconds off of her 26.43 lifetime-best from the 2019 Virginia Poseidon's Long Course Meet in order to make the U.S. Olympic Team Trials. Donlin, a two-time podium finisher in the 50-yard freestyle at the CCSA Championships, is ranked seventh in program history with her lifetime-best 22.86.

Friday, Dec. 6
Women's 100-Meter Butterfly (11:01 a.m./B heats – 1:07 p.m.)
Olympic Trials Standard: 1:00.69
Liberty's entrants:
Alicia Finnigan and Lindsey Cohee
How they qualified: Cohee, a native of Charlotte, N.C., qualified for the meet with a lifetime-best 1:01.42 at 2019 Virginia Poseidon's Long Course. She will need to trim 0.73 seconds from that time in order to meet the Olympic Trials standard. A two-time A Finals qualifier in the 100-yard butterfly at CCSA Championships, Cohee currently ranks fifth in program history for 100 fly at 54.23.

Women's 200-Meter Freestyle (11:16 a.m./B heats – 1:36 p.m.)
Olympic Trials Standard: 2:01.69
Liberty's entrants:
Eva Suggs
How she qualified: Freshman Eva Suggs brings a 2:04.46 qualifying time in 200-yard freestyle to the U.S. Open. She will need to lower that time by 2.77 seconds in order to make the U.S. Olympic Team Trials. Suggs has had a great start to her Liberty career in the 200 freestyle, as her altitude-adjusted 1:49.80 from the BYU Invitational is the fastest 200-yard freestyle swum by a CCSA swimmer so far this season.

Women's 100-Meter Backstroke (12:02 p.m./B heats – 2:48 p.m.)
Olympic Trials Standard: 1:02.69
Liberty's entrant:
Emma Hazel
How she qualified: Emma Hazel swam a lifetime-best 1:03.84 in the 100-meter backstroke at the 2019 Virginia Poseidon's Long Course Meet. She will need to lower that time by 1.15 seconds to make the Olympic Trials in the event.

Hazel, a native of White Lake, Mich., finished fifth in the 100 backstroke at the 2019 CCSA Championships. She is currently ranked eighth in program history in both the 50-yard backstroke (27.07 – L) and 100 backstroke (55.53).

Saturday, Dec. 7
Women's 200-Meter Backstroke (8:00 a.m./B heats – 9:54 a.m.)
Olympic Trials Standard:
2:14.69
Liberty's entrants: Emma Hazel and Eva Suggs
How they qualified: Emma Hazel (2:17.96) and Eva Suggs (2:20.25) will both have to take several seconds off of their lifetime bests in the 200-meter backstroke in order to qualify for U.S. Olympic Team Trials in this event.   

Hazel made an immediate impact at the 2019 CCSA Championships when she placed second in the 200-yard backstroke. She is currently ranked fourth in program history in 200-yard backstroke (1:57.98).

A native of Boise, Idaho, Suggs has excelled in a variety of events at Liberty, and has a season-best 2:02.56 in 200-yard backstroke this season. Her lifetime best in the 200-yard backstroke is 1:56.71.

Women's 200-Meter Butterfly (9:23 a.m./B heats – 11:49 a.m.)
Olympic Trials Standard: 2:14.59
Liberty's entrant:
Lindsey Cohee
How she qualified: Cohee's best chance to make the Olympic Trials appears to be in the 200-meter butterfly. She nearly qualified this summer, swimming 2:14.76 at the Virginia Poseidon's Long Course Meet. Her time was just 0.17 seconds away from the standard. Cohee, a two-time podium finisher in the 200-yard fly at CCSA Championships, is ranked third in program history in the event (1:57.85).