Club Sports News

Flames swimmers set pace at North Carolina State Invite

November 3, 2019  |  Raleigh, N.C. 

Flames freshman Matt Davidson competes in the backstroke at the Liberty Natatorium on Sept. 27. (Photos by Luke Bobbey) test test test test
Flames freshman Matt Davidson competes in the backstroke at the Liberty Natatorium on Sept. 27. (Photos by Luke Bobbey)

Liberty University's men's swimming team dominated a field of 16 teams at Saturday's and Sunday's Raleighwood Invitational, hosted by North Carolina State in the Willis R. Casey Aquatic Center.

With 15 swimmers, the Flames accumulated 830 points to leave host NC State (476) in their wake, along with third-place William & Mary (437), North Carolina Chapel Hill (427), Appalachian State (255.5), UNC Wilmington (246), and Duke (seventh with 219).

"This was our third year in a row going and our first time winning it," Liberty Head Coach Heath Grishaw said. "We have always enjoyed going to this meet because it has really good competition and NC State always does a good job running it. It is a fun pool to swim in, knowing that so many great athletes have competed there. It's got a lot of history."

Despite being one of only two schools without a women's club team, Liberty's point total put it in fourth place in the combined team scores. NC State was the combined team champion with 1,049.5 points.

Flames sophomore Corbin Libby swims the breaststroke.

The Flames won all three of the relay races held in the two-day meet. The 200 medley team of freshman Matt Davidson (backstroke), sophomore Corbin Libby (breaststroke), junior Ben Klipp (butterfly), and senior Charles Fernandez (freestyle) started Saturday's competition by finishing 2.5 seconds in front of the second-place team from UNC Chapel Hill in 1:41.37.

In the 400 free relay, Liberty's quartet of Klipp, senior Noah Miller, Fernandez, and Davidson won by nearly 10 seconds in 3:17.26 before the sequence of Davidson, Fernandez, Klipp, and Miller edged the Tar Heels by 1.5 seconds in 1:30.28 in the 200 free.

Individually, the Flames posted the most impressive showing in the 200 free, earning five of the top seven times, paced by Davidson, who finished nearly two seconds ahead of UNC's MJ Jaynes in 1:46.48. Fernandez placed third in 1:49.88, followed by junior teammate Robert Boehme (fourth in 1:49.98) and Klipp (fifth in 1:50.81).

Davidson (24.91) was nipped by UNC's Eric Arrington (24.83) in the 50 back after holding him off by nearly a second in the 100 back in 53.15.

Fernandez won the 100 free in 49.28 and finished runner-up out of 131 competitors in the 50 free in 22.56, six-hundredths of a second behind UNC's Duncan Charboneau.

Senior Charles Fernandez anchored the Flames' 400 free relay and swam the 50, 100, and 200 free events.

Boehme (4:17.75) finished first in the 400 individual medley (IM) by more than seven seconds and won the 500 free in 4:56.50, followed by sophomore teammate Caleb Rice (5:20.02) and freshman Wade Lawrence (fourth, 5:24.55).

Boehme (2:04.16), Klipp (2:07.27), and Miller (2:15.08) placed second, third, and fifth, respectively, in the 200 IM. Libby (1:01.77) and freshmen Christian Dilena (1:06.70) and Carter Helsby (1:07.31) finished second, fourth, and fifth, respectively, in the 100 breast. Libby had won the 50 breast in 28.77 followed by Dilena (fifth in 30.27).

Miller won the 100 fly in 2:06.24; Helsby (2:23.74) and junior Isaac Hanna (2:25.41) placed second and third in the 100 breast; and Klipp finished fifth in the 50 fly in 24.98.

The meet concludes the Flames' fall season schedule. They plan to compete in a couple more in the spring before sending all who qualify to the April 11-12 Collegiate Club Swimming (CCS) National Championships in Greensboro, N.C., hosted by UNC Chapel Hill.

"It will be a very tough field of competition, but, Lord willing, we would love to win," Grishaw said. "We're going to have a lot of people come and watch because it's close. We would love to have a national champion in an individual event, if not more, and maybe see a relay team win, too."

Last spring, the Flames' eighth-place 800 free relay performance accounted for half of their team points in a 29th-place finish at nationals. Liberty has yet to compete in that event this season, but will be ready when the time comes.

"Last year, we had everybody under 1:50, which is great," Grishaw said. "This year, we could have everybody under 1:40, which would give us a really good shot at making a top-three finish."


By Ted Allen/Staff Writer; Video by Hayden Robertson/Club Sports Video & Media Assistant

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Apr 11
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at Nationals

Feb 29
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at UVA Wet Wahoo Invitational
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Feb 22
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at James Madison University
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Nov 2
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Nov 1
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