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Liberty Swimming & Diving to Host Richmond on Friday, Live on Big South Network

October 29, 2014  Lynchburg, Va.  RSS
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The Liberty swimming & diving team hosts Commonwealth foe Richmond for its lone home meet of the 2014-15 season, on Friday at 4 p.m. at the LaHaye Aquatics Center.

Friday's meet will match up the defending CCSA champion Lady Flames (5-2, 1-0 CCSA) against four-time defending Atlantic 10 champion Richmond (4-0). The Spiders won the only previous meeting between these two teams, downing Liberty, 152-138, on Nov. 9, 2013 at Richmond.

How to Follow the Lady Flames
Friday's meet will be available for viewing, free of charge, through a live video stream on the Big South Network. Jake Johnston will call the action, with Davidson assistant swimming coach Josh Graham providing analysis. Fans can also follow the live results on their mobile devices through the MeetMobile app.

The Lady Flames will hold two special ceremonies prior to the meet on Friday. The team will hold a ring ceremony, as each member of the 2014 CCSA title-winning Liberty squad will receive a championship ring. Liberty will also honor its graduating senior swimmers, Meghan Babcock, Emily Duff, Cori Gary, Jennifer Garzinski and Chloe Thomas, with a Senior Day celebration.

All five of Liberty's seniors have scored at CCSA Championships during their careers, with Babcock, Duff and Gary all medaling at least once while posting NCAA B cut swims. The class helped the Lady Flames earn their first-ever CCSA title, edging five-time conference champion Florida Gulf Coast at the 2014 CCSA Championships.

Fans will need to enter the new LaHaye Student Union Expansion through the right rotunda. Signs will guide spectators to the entrance of the LaHaye Aquatics Center. Due to limited space at the facility, seating is on a first-come, first-serve basis and will be monitored through a wristband system.

Liberty holds a 5-2 all-time record in home meets, and the Lady Flames have gone 4-0 at the LaHaye Aquatics Center during the collegiate swimming careers of Liberty's five seniors.

The Lady Flames are 5-2 this season, including 1-0 in conference action. The squad holds wins over Campbell, Oregon State of the Pac-12, Seattle, James Madison and Old Dominion. Liberty last competed in the Virginia Tech Swimming & Diving Challenge on Oct. 18, defeating James Madison and Old Dominion while falling to Penn State and Virginia Tech.

Junior Kendall Hough has been a top performer for the Lady Flames. Hough was named the CCSA Women's Swimmer of the Week on Oct. 14. On Oct. 18, Hough placed second in the 50 free (23.40) and the 50 backstroke (26.31). Her 50 free and 100 free times both rank her second among all CCSA swimmers so far this year. Hough earned her first NCAA B cut last year, placing third in the 100 back at the CCSA meet.

Sophomore Heather McCorkel anchors a strong mid-distance and distance free corps, holding the top time in the CCSA for both the 200 free (1:50.22) and 500 free (5:01.90) this season. McCorkel earned third in the 200 free at the Virginia Tech Swimming & Diving Challenge. She holds Liberty's program records in the 200 and 500 free.

Sophomore Morgan Noonan finished third in the 200 breaststroke at Virginia Tech, in 2:21.14. She won both breaststroke events during the season opener, and is ranked third in program history in both the 100 breaststroke and 200 breaststroke.

Senior Emily Duff picked up a first-place finish in the 200 backstroke at Oregon State. A six-time CCSA medalist, Duff holds Liberty's program records in the 200 back (1:57.52) and 400 IM (4:20.89).

Senior Meghan Babcock won the 50 free at Oregon State, in 23.97. Babcock, a 2014 CSCAA Scholar All-America first team mention, placed third at the 2014 CCSA Championships in the 100 free.

Freshman Prudence Rooker has made an immediate impact. She is ranked fourth in program history in both the 100 breaststroke (1:06.47) and 200 breaststroke (2:23.85). Classmate Sarah Browning is third all-time at Liberty in the 400 IM (4:34.43) and fourth in the 1,000 free (10:30.42).

This year's team includes 12 newcomers, with 11 freshmen and one transfer comprising nearly half of Liberty's 25-person roster. All 13 returnees scored at last year's conference meet. The Lady Flames' group of returning student-athletes is highlighted by six CCSA individual medalists and two additional swimmers who competed on medal-winning relays at the conference meet last year.

Liberty holds the fastest time in the conference in the following events this season:
200 free – Heather McCorkel (1:50.22)
500 free – Heather McCorkel (5:01.90)        

Current Lady Flames Holding Program Records
200 free – Heather McCorkel (1:49.07 – 2/21/14)
500 free – Heather McCorkel (4:48.87 – 2/20/14)
1000 free – Kristin VanDeventer (10:11.74 – 2/22/14)
1650 free – Kristin VanDeventer (16:55.28 – 2/22/14)
50 back – Kendall Hough (25.26 – L – 2/19/14)
200 back – Emily Duff (1:57.52 – 2/22/14)
400 IM – Emily Duff (4:20.89 – 2/21/14)

Richmond (4-0)
Richmond has won the Atlantic 10 Swimming & Diving Championship four years in a row, and in 12 out of the last 13 seasons. The Spiders are off to a 4-0 start this season, with wins over Old Dominion, UNCW, Davidson and George Mason.

Richmond has had to replace a talented 2014 senior class, which included three-time Atlantic 10 Most Outstanding Performer Mali Kobelja. Junior Kelley Yang returns after winning the 100 fly, while also earning podium finishes in the 50 free (second place) and 100 free (third) at the 2014 Atlantic 10 Championships. Junior Natalya Ares is another top returnee, placing second in both the 100 free and 200 free at last season's conference meet after winning the 100 free in 2013.

The Spiders have taken home Atlantic 10 Women's Rookie of the Week each last two weeks. Annie Lane and Erin Barry have each earned the honor. Barry has posted five event victories this season, including three wins in the 100 breaststroke. Lane has won the 200 free, 500 free and 1000 free so far this year.

Following Friday's meet, Liberty will next compete at the Virginia Tech Invitational, held from Nov. 20-22 at the Christiansburg Aquatic Center. The meet will feature a three-day, championship format similar to that which will be used at the 2015 CCSA Swimming & Diving Championships.

Schedule of Events
1. 200 Medley Relay
2. 1,000 Freestyle
3. 200 Freestyle
4. 100 Backstroke
5. 100 Breaststroke
6. 200 Butterfly
7. 50 Freestyle

15-minute break

8. 100 Freestyle
9. 200 Backstroke
10. 200 Breaststroke
11. 500 Freestyle
12. 100 Butterfly

10-minute break

13. 200 Individual Medley
14. 200 Freestyle Relay