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Liberty Swimming & Diving Repeats as CCSA Champs

February 22, 2020  Knoxville, Tenn.  RSS
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Liberty claimed its third CCSA title and second in a row.

Liberty claimed its third CCSA title and second in a row.

 Liberty successfully defended its conference title, winning the 2020 Coastal Collegiate Sports Association (CCSA) Women's Swimming & Diving Championships, which wrapped up Saturday at Tennessee's Allan Jones Aquatic Center.

The Lady Flames have won back-to-back CCSA titles for the first time in program history, and claimed their third-ever conference title. The team's first CCSA title came in this very pool, nearly six years ago, as Liberty edged FGCU to win the 2014 CCSA Championship.

The Lady Flames won with 1,566 points, topping FGCU, who scored 1,403 points. Incarnate Word finished third with 1,037 points.

Team Standings
1. Liberty – 1,566

2. FGCU – 1,403
3. Incarnate Word – 1,037
4. UNC Asheville – 782
5. North Florida – 698
6. Campbell – 690
7. Gardner-Webb – 657
8. Georgia Southern – 526
9. Howard – 299

Liberty A Finalists
• R-So. Mikayla Herich – 1,650 freestyle (1st place in 16:38.96)
• Jr. Payton Keiner – 200 backstroke (1st place in 1:52.63)
• So. Emma Hazel – 200 backstroke (2nd place in 1:56.53)
• Fr. Eva Suggs – 200 backstroke (3rd place in 1:56.75)
• Sr. Brittany Weiss – 100 freestyle (1st place in 49.50)
• Sr. Colleen Donlin – 100 freestyle (2nd place in 49.56)
• Sr. Hannah Baker – 100 freestyle (4th place in 49.85)
• Fr. Jessica Schellenboom – 200 breaststroke (2nd place in 2:15.80)
• So. Chloe Rippey – 200 breaststroke (3rd place in 2:16.17)
• So. Kiah Francis – 200 breaststroke (8th place in 2:23.97)
• Jr. Lindsey Cohee – 200 butterfly (1st place in 1:59.21)
• 400 freestyle relay – 1st place (Payton Keiner – 49.81; Hannah Baker – 50.17; Brittany Weiss – 49.35; Colleen Donlin – 49.58) – 3:18.85

Notable
• Lauren Chennault was named Co-Outstanding Diver of the CCSA Meet, the first Lady Flame to win the award. She won one-meter diving and finished second on three-meter.

• Mikayla Herich earned Most Outstanding Swimmer of the CCSA Meet after winning three events this week. She is the second swimmer in program history to earn Most Outstanding Swimmer, joining Brye Ravettine (2012).

 • Eva Suggs was named Co-Most Outstanding Freshman of the CCSA Meet, the sixth swimmer in program history to earn the award. This is the fourth year in a row that the Lady Flames have taken home this award.

• Liberty diving coach Tori Wood was voted CCSA Women's Diving Coach of the Year for the second year in a row, sharing the award with FGCU's David Boyko.

• The Lady Flames posted 10 podium finishes on Saturday, including five event victories and five NCAA B cuts. Liberty finished the meet with program records for both podium finishes (29) and event victories (14) at a CCSA Championship meet, and earned 10 B cuts. The program's records for the 50 back, 100 back, 200 IM and 400 IM were all lowered this week, while Payton Keiner broke her own conference and meet records in the 200 backstroke.

• Liberty won the 400 freestyle relay, making this the second time in program history (also 2018) that the Lady Flames have won all five relays at the conference meet.

• Mikayla Herich (200 IM, 400 IM, 1,650 freestyle) and Eva Suggs (500 free, 200 free, 200 back) both earned top-three finishes in three different events.

• Herich (400 IM, 200 IM, 1,650 freestyle) won three events this week, joining Emilie Kaufman (100 breast, 200 breast, 200 IM in 2014) as the only two Lady Flames to post three event victories at a single CCSA Championship meet.

• Payton Keiner (100 back, 200 back) picked up two event victories this week, while Brittany Weiss (100 free), Lauren Chennault (one-meter diving), Eva Suggs (200 free) and Lindsey Cohee (200 fly) won one event each.

• After this week's meet, Herich (200 IM – 2019, 2020; 1,650 free – 2019, 2020; 400 IM – 2020) and Keiner (200 back – 2018-20, 100 back – 2019, 2020) are tied for the program record with five career CCSA individual event victories each.

• On Saturday, Herich won the 1,650 freestyle in 16:38.96, defending her conference title in the event.

• Keiner won the 200 backstroke for the third year in a row, leading a 1-2-3 Liberty sweep in NCAA B cut, program-, meet- and conference-record 1:52.63. She broke her own record of 1:53.68, set in 2018. Emma Hazel (1:56.53) and Eva Suggs (1:56.75) placed second and third, respectively, both in lifetime-best B cut times.

• Weiss earned Liberty's first CCSA title in the 100 freestyle since 2012, winning in lifetime-best, NCAA B cut 49.50. Donlin took second in 49.56, while Hannah Baker swam 49.85 for fourth.

• Jessica Schellenboom picked up her second podium finish of the meet, taking second in the 200 breaststroke in 2:15.80. Chloe Rippey swam a lifetime-best 2:16.17 for third, good for her first career top-three placing.

• Cohee claimed victory in the 200 butterfly, her first career CCSA event crown. Liberty has won the 200 fly each of the last four years, as Alicia Finnigan won each year from 2017 through 2019.

• Baker is the fourth Liberty swimmer to qualify for 12 career A Finals at CCSA Championships, joining former teammates Victoria Tschoke (2014-17), Prudence Rooker (2015-18) and Alicia Finnigan (2016-19).

Historically Speaking
• In addition to Keiner's record-setting swim in the 200 back, Hazel moves up to third in program history (1:56.53), while Suggs' 1:56.75 places her fourth on the all-time top 10 performers list. Prior to tonight, only Keiner and Emily Duff (2015) had ever broken 1:57 in the 200 backstroke in program history.

• Weiss improved to third in program history in the 100 free (49.50), while Donlin's 49.56 is fourth and Baker's 49.85 is sixth. Weiss and Donlin are the fifth and sixth Lady Flames all-time to break 50 second in the 100 free.

 • Schellenboom's 2:15.38 from 200 breaststroke prelims ranks fourth in program history, while Rippey moved into fifth place with her lifetime-best 2:16.17 in the A Final.   

Up Next
The Lady Flames will host the third-annual Liberty Last Chance Meet, next Friday through Sunday at the Liberty Natatorium.