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    February 21, 2022 Charlottesville, Va. RSS |

    Liberty University’s men’s swim team placed second in the team standings to host Virginia at Saturday’s Wet Wahoos Invitational, a College Club Swimming (CCS) event at the UVA Aquatic & Fitness Center in Charlottesville, Va.

    The Flames totaled 629 points, trailing the team champion Cavaliers (762) but well ahead of Virginia Tech (430), James Madison (278), George Washington (251), UNC Chapel Hill (144), Villanova (142), George Mason (34), Virginia Commonwealth (26), and Christopher Newport (14), which rounded out the top 10. Old Dominion was also represented but did not score.

    “Overall, it was a good meet,” Liberty Head Coach Heath Grishaw said. “We got to see a couple guys pick up some (CCS) national qualifying time cuts, including (freshmen) Carson Chestnut in the 500 and 200 free and Tristan Roach and (sophomore) Elijah Gocotano in the 200 IM and Roach in the 200 free, so we were pretty happy about that.”

    Davidson was a three-event winner and swam legs of two winning relays. (Photos courtesy of Matt Diaz)

    The Flames’ 200 freestyle relay team of Zach Mallory, freshman Trent Kolter, sophomore Jonathan Tonnell, and senior Matthew Davidson beat the Cavaliers to the wall by 15-hundredths of a second to win in 1 minute, 28.05 seconds and the 400 free relay team of senior Robert Boehme, Tonnell, junior Zach Mallory, and Davidson swam past second-place Hokies to capture the blue ribbon in 3:22.90.

    Liberty’s 200 medley relay team of Davidson (backstroke), freshmen Cairns Edmondson (breaststroke), Kolter (butterfly), and Tonnell (free) settled for second place behind the Cavaliers in 1:37.26.

    Sophomore Tyler Suchyi finished fourth in the 100 breast behind Helsby, who was third.

    Davidson then led a 1-2-3 Liberty sweep in the 200 free, edging Boehme by four-hundredths of a second in 1:45.48, more than five seconds in front of Kolter (third in 1:50.72). In the 100 free, Davidson won by more than three seconds over GWU’s Peter Brukx in 46.24 with Tonnell finishing third in 49.56. Davidson also won the 100 back in 51.80, beating second-place Kolter (55.91) by more than four seconds, after Boehme won the 500 free in 4:51.92 and before he captured the 200 IM in 1:48.24.

    Flames sophomore Elijah Gocotano came in second in the 50 back in 25.83 and sophomore transfer Tyler Suchyi was swimmer-up in the 50 breast by 0.08 seconds in 28.05 and finished fifth in the 200 IM in 2:07.13.

    Flames swimmers take a break from practice at Liberty Natatorium.

    Junior Carter Helsby (1:02.62) and Suchyi (1:02.70) placed third and fourth, respectively, in the 100 breast and Colter (54.32) and Helsby (55.36) claimed third and fourth in the 100 fly. Tonnell finished fifth in the 100 individual medley in 57.48, Tonnell was sixth in the 50 free in 22.33, Edmondson touched sixth in the 50 breast in 28.59, freshmen Carson Chestnut (5:16.02) and Joey Boehme (5:18.06) placed fifth and seventh respectively, in the 500 free, and Mallory took seventh in the 50 fly (25.19).

    The Flames have qualified the majority of their 22-man team for the April 8-10 College Club Swimming National Championships at Georgia Tech, which will feature approximately 1,800 swimmers from more than 120 schools.

    “That is a great facility with a fast pool, like the Liberty Natatorium,” Grishaw said. “We’re in a good spot. We are training for our Last Chance at Clemson on March 12, where we’ll be bringing all but one swimmer and then going down to Charleston (S.C.) for a training week over Spring Break from March 13-16. That will probably be our hardest week of training, when we will try to increase the intensity (before tapering for nationals.) They will be fatigued after that week.”

    By Ted Allen/Staff Writer