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Liberty to Enter Final Day of CCSA Championships in 2nd Position

February 19, 2016  Athens, Ga.  RSS
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Chelsea Pond swam a lifetime-best 1:49.88 in 200 free qualifying on Friday.

Chelsea Pond swam a lifetime-best 1:49.88 in 200 free qualifying on Friday.

Liberty remains in second place at the 2016 CCSA Swimming & Diving Championships, after Friday's finals session at Gabrielsen Natatorium.

The Lady Flames have scored a total of 944 points entering Saturday's fourth and final day of competition. Defending champion Florida Gulf Coast leads with 1,188 points. Georgia Southern sits in third, at 685, followed by Gardner-Webb (579) and Incarnate Word (519), in that order.

For the day, Liberty posted 17 lifetime bests, as the Lady Flames qualified for 21 finals appearances (10 – A, 10 – B, 1 – C). The Lady Flames combined for four podium finishes (three individual, one relay), setting one program record while meeting four NCAA B cuts.

Natalie Beale competed in two A finals on the night, starting with a fourth-place finish in the 100 fly in which she swam a lifetime-best 54.48. Alicia Finnigan's personal-best 55.14 was good for fifth place. In the B final, Ashley Mauzy finished 11th overall in 56.89, while Ranndi Grubbs came in 16th with a 58.55.

In the next event, Beale earned her first podium finish as a Lady Flame, earning runner-up honors for 200 free in 1:48.12. Kristin VanDeventer took fourth in 1:50.88, while Chelsea Pond swam 1:53.24 for eighth. Shelby Black posted a lifetime-best 1:51.25, finishing 12th, while Elizabeth Magnusson took 13th in 1:51.31. Ashlee Sall's best time of 1:51.71 earned her 15th position. FGCU's Elise Haan won in meet and CCSA-record, NCAA B cut time of 1:46.20.

Prudence Rooker came in second during the 100 breaststroke, with her lifetime-best 1:02.09 meeting the NCAA B standard. Rooker earned her first medal as a Lady Flame. Anna Dickinson (personal-best 1:03.08), Ricki Lee Hodges (personal-best 1:03.69) and Morgan Noonan (1:05.00) placed 9th through 11th, in that order.

Kendall Hough claimed her sixth career podium finish, and second this year, with a third-place showing in the 100 backstroke. She swam an NCAA B cut time of 54.11, while Victoria Tschoke's B cut, 54.80, placed fifth. Rachel Hoeve (57.50) came in 10th, while Ashley Mauzy swam a lifetime-best 57.99 in the C final, claiming 19th overall.

Liberty's two A finalists in diving both improved on their seeds. Brooke Fox finished fifth with 223.55 points, while Madi Long scored a personal-best 217.15 points for sixth place.

In the final event of the evening, Liberty's 400 medley relay quartet of Tschoke (55.75), Rooker (1:02.86), Finnigan (55.03) and Pond (50.50) took second in 3:44.14. Florida Gulf Coast won in CCSA, meet-record and NCAA B cut 3:33.92.

Preliminary Round Recap
The Lady Flames began the morning by qualifying two for the 100 fly A final. Natalie Beale finished fourth in a lifetime-best 55.08, while Finnigan was seventh in 55.39. Ranndi Grubbs swam 56.33 for 10th, while Mauzy tied for 15th in 57.46.

Liberty had three A finalists in the 200 free, led by Natalie Beale, who swam an NCAA B cut, lifetime-best, program-record 1:47.97 for second. Pond and VanDeventer tied for third with personal-best 1:49.88, becoming the third and fourth swimmers in program history to break 1:50. Magnusson clocked 1:51.22 for 11th, while Black tied for 12th with a best time of 1:51.81 and Sall's 1:52.20 was 15th in qualifying. Dani Jordan swam 1:56.05 and Siani Null touched in a best time of 1:56.80.

Rooker qualified first in 100 breaststroke qualifying, in 1:02.52. Hodges swam 1:04.27, in qualifying ninth, while Dickinson (1:04.95) took 11th and Noonan (1:05.41), 13th. Morgan Weigner went 1:06.57 as an exhibition swimmer.

Hough qualified third in the 100 back in NCAA B cut 54.62, while Victoria Tschoke also met the B cut with her lifetime-best 54.75. Tschoke took fifth in the morning heats. Hoeve earned a B final swim, in a personal-best 57.12. Mauzy's 58.69 placed her 18th. Danielle Boothe swam a lifetime-best 56.54 while exhibitioning the event.

Liberty placed two divers in the A final of women's one-meter springboard. Madi Long was sixth in qualifying with a score of 207.90, while Brooke Fox was seventh, in 192.6. Courtney Fox finished ninth overall, scoring 186.70 points.

The Lady Flames remain in second position heading into Saturday's fourth and final day of competition. Tomorrow's morning preliminary session begins at 10 a.m. with trials of the 200 backstroke, and also includes heats of the 100 free, 200 breaststroke, 200 fly, 400 free relay and 1,650 free.