Flames finish as swimmers-up to Virginia at UVA, JMU meets
February 22, 2020 | Harrisonburg, Va.
Freshman Matthew Davidson set meet records in the 50-yard freestyle (21.41 seconds) and the 100 Individual Medley (55.63) and junior Robert Boehme set a new standard in the 500 free (4:47.14) to help Liberty University's men's swim team rack up 525 points and place second behind Virginia (942.50) at Saturday's seventh annual Battle for the Crown hosted by JMU, which placed third (507.50).
"We were really pleased with this weekend," Flames Head Coach Heath Grishaw said. "JMU has a great club team so it was really fun to get to swim against them. JMU has an older style of pool, so it was a challenge to learn to swim with that wake. It wasn't as great of a weekend for us as it was for UVA, but it served as a good wakeup call for our guys to know (the Collegiate Club Swimming National Championships) will be here soon (April 10-12 in Greensboro, N.C.) and we're not ready for that yet."
Previously, the Flames were also swimmers-up to the Cavaliers, who amassed 328 points in the combined men's and women's team standings, at UVA's Wet Wahoo Invitational on Feb. 1. Liberty's men totaled 57 points at that meet, followed by UNC Chapel Hill (41) and with JMU, Virginia Tech, and Duke landing in a three-way tie for fourth place with 26 points.
Davidson won the 200 freestyle at UVA in 1:44.76 with Boehme placing third in 1:49.83. Boehme also won the 500 free in 4:53.94 and took second in the 200 individual medley in 2:04.55.
Davidson also took first in the 100 backstroke in 52.56 and finished second in the 50 free in 21.48 and sophomore Corbin Libby placed third in the 50 breast in 27.59.
On Saturday at JMU, Boehme also won the 200 IM in 2:04.54, ahead of freshman teammate Carter Helsby (second in 2:08.49), who won the 200 breaststroke in 2:24.45.
|Flames sophomore Corbin Libby placed second in the 50-yard breaststroke and third in the 100 breast on Saturday at JMU. (Photo by Luke Bobbey)|
Liberty's men's 200 medley relay team of Davidson (back), Libby (breast), Boehme (butterfly), and sophomore Matt Sonnen (free) finished runner-up to Virginia in 1:39.70.
Davidson won the 100 IM by more than a second and a half in 55.63 with Libby fourth in 58.53 and Helsby fifth in 59.40. Davidson also edged UVA's Matthew Healy, who had anchored the 200 medley relay, by five-hundredths of a second to win the 50 free with his record-setting time of 21.41. He also won the 200 back in 1:57.93 and placed second in the 100 back in 54.82.
Freshman Zach Mallory finished fourth in the 50 back in 27.00 and the 50 fly in 25.27 and seventh in the 100 fly in 59.17 behind sophomore Robert Monroe (fifth in 57.05).
Liberty's 200 free relay team of Mallory, sophomore Dan Flittner, Sonnen, and Davidson placed third in 1:32.63. Libby finished second in the 50 breast in 27.87 and third in the 100 breast in 1:01.56.
Monroe and freshman Wade Lawrence both achieved national qualifying times in the 50 back.
Grishaw said the Flames may host a last-chance intra-squad meet at the Liberty Natatorium in early March to earn a few more qualifying cuts for nationals. He is looking forward to sending 20 swimmers to Greensboro, twice as many as last season, when the Flames placed 29th out of 120 teams at Ohio State.
"The Greensboro Aquatic Center is going to be a great facility to swim in for a national championship," Grishaw said. "That is a giant, fast pool. I'm excited about it. It'll be a great event."
He plans to maintain the rigorous practice schedule of eight to nine sessions per week, including weight training, before tapering the swimmers for nationals in early April.
"The foundation of this program is extremely strong and I am super pleased with what we've seen," Grishaw said. "Guys have responded really well, developing friendships and brotherhood. Watching the family come together, guys cheering for each other every race and practice, I look forward to it every afternoon."