Liberty swimming & diving makes its first-ever trip to Asheville, N.C., for a meet with the UNC Asheville Bulldogs on Saturday at 11 a.m. at the Justice Center Pool.
The Lady Flames (5-2, 1-1 CCSA) and Bulldogs (3-6, 1-5) will meet for the second time in dual-meet action all-time. Last year, Liberty downed UNC Asheville, 166-132, in a two-day dual meet at the LaHaye Aquatics Center, Jan. 16-17, 2016.
Liberty opened its season with a program-best start of 5-0. However, the Lady Flames have sustained two straight setbacks. Last Saturday, Liberty fell at two-time defending Florida Gulf Coast, 137-125, in a meet that came down to the final race.
UNC Asheville brings a 3-6 record into Saturday's meet. The Bulldogs are 1-5 against CCSA opponents, defeating North Florida on Oct. 22. Most recently, UNC Asheville fell to two-time defending CCSA champion Florida Gulf Coast, 154-51, on Dec. 18 in Fort Myers, Fla.
CCSA Honors Sophomore Alicia Finnigan was named CCSA Women's Swimmer of the Week on Monday, after winning three individual events and swimming on a victorious relay at FGCU. Her winning 200 fly time of 2:00.25 was the second fastest time in the event by a CCSA swimmer this season, and fastest ever by a Lady Flame in a regular-season meet. She also won the 500 free (5:01.76) and 400 IM (4:26.14), both in a season-best time.
Freshman Jenna Joyal has had a strong start to her diving career at Liberty, being named CCSA Women's Diver of the Week on Oct. 11. She has recorded the fourth-best score in the CCSA in one-meter diving. Junior Rachel Hoeve continued to dominate the 50 free, posting her fourth straight 50 free victory at FGCU on Saturday. She swam a season-best 23.40 at the Intermountain Shootout on Oct. 7. Hoeve clocked a regular-season best time of 51.76 for 100 free at the Frank Elm Invite in November.
Redshirt junior Morgan Noonan won the 200 breaststroke in 2:21.40 at FGCU, her third win in the event so far this season. She turned in her best time of the year, 2:19.79, at the Frank Elm Invite.
Junior Prudence Rooker has clocked the top time in the 200 breaststroke so far this season, with a 2:17.91 clocking at the Frank Elm Invite. She leads the team with eight individual-event wins.
Freshman Brittany Weiss swam a season-best 56.62 to win the 100 backstroke last Saturday, her third 100 backstroke win this season.
Sophomore Delia Weber had a strong meet at the Frank Elm Invite in November, breaking program records in the 1000 freestyle (10:04.44) and 1650 freestyle (16:43.69). Her 1650 free time in the fastest among any CCSA swimmer in 2016-17.
Liberty will host its final home meet at LaHaye Aquatics Center this year, hosting Campbell next Friday. Construction continues on the Liberty Natatorium, which is scheduled to be ready for the 2017-18 academic year.
Head Coach Jake Shellenberger is in his seventh season at the helm at Liberty, guiding the program since its inaugural 2010-11 campaign. He has posted a 68-28 dual-meet record, while twice being named CCSA Women's Swimming Coach of the Year.
Current Lady Flames with Program Records 1000 Free – Delia Weber (10:04.44; 11/20/16) 1,650 Free – Delia Weber (16:43.69; 11/20/16)
Top Marks Liberty holds at least one of the top three times in the CCSA in the following individual races this season: 1,650 freestyle – Delia Weber (1st – 16:43.69) 200 breaststroke – Prudence Rooker (1st – 2:17.91) 200 butterfly – Alicia Finnigan (2nd – 2:00.25) 100 IM – Prudence Rooker (2nd – 57.73), Brittany Weiss (3rd – 58.65)
UNC Asheville UNC Asheville (3-6) finished seventh at the 2016 CCSA Swimming & Diving Championships, tying its best conference finish. Fifth year head coach Elizabeth Lykins was named 2016 CCSA Co-Coach of the Year.
Sophomore Morgan Rulevich returns after finishing second in the 200 breaststroke (B cut 2:15.45) and fourth in the 100 breaststroke (1:03.03) at last year's CCSA meet. This season, Rulevich leads the CCSA in the 100 breaststroke (1:03.06) while ranking second in the 200 breaststroke (2:17.97). Skylar Rogan is ranked third in the CCSA in the 1650 free (17:12.88) and 1000 free (10:27.15), also appearing fifth in the 500 free (4:58.75). Stephanie Smith (2:04.20) has the sixth fastest 200 backstroke time in the conference in 2016-17.
Following Saturday's meet, Liberty is scheduled for its final home meet at the LaHaye Aquatics Center, Friday at 5 p.m. against Campbell.
Order of Events Liberty at UNC Asheville 1. 400 Medley Relay 2. 1000 Freestyle 3. 200 Freestyle 4. 100 Backstroke 5. 100 Breaststroke 6. 50 Butterfly 7. 50 Freestyle 15-minute break 8. 100 Freestyle 9. 50 Backstroke 10. 50 Breaststroke 11. 500 Freestyle 12. 100 Butterfly 10-minute break 13. 200 Individual Medley 14. 200 Freestyle Relay
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