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Liberty Now in 2nd Place Heading into Final Day of CCSA Meet

February 16, 2018  Athens, Ga.  RSS
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Brittany Weiss won the 100 back at the CCSA Championships, while teammate Payton Keiner took second.

Brittany Weiss won the 100 back at the CCSA Championships, while teammate Payton Keiner took second.

After leading the CCSA Championships through two days, Liberty saw three-time defending conference champion Florida Gulf Coast surge ahead of them on day three, Friday at Georgia's Gabrielsen Natatorium.

FGCU leads with a three-day total of 1.152 points, followed by Liberty with 1,078. Georgia Southern (628), Incarnate Word (593.5) and Gardner-Webb (567) round out the top five.

Liberty has made the podium in every swimming event so far at this week's conference championship meet. On Friday, Liberty recorded seven podium finishes (six individual, one relay) and two victories, along with six NCAA B cuts and two program records.

Brittany Weiss won the 100 backstroke for the second year in a row, winning in program-record, NCAA B cut time 52.81. Teammate Payton Keiner followed in second in lifetime-best, NCAA B cut 53.58. In the B Final, Rachel Hoeve swam 57.87 for 14th place overall. Weiss and Keiner now hold the top two spots in program history in the 100 back.

Alicia Finnigan finished second in the 100 fly for the second year in a row, swimming a personal-best, NCAA B cut time of 53.53. FGCU's Christina Kaas Elmgreen edged her for the win, in 53.32. Finnigan has now made the podium five times in her career. Lindsey Cohee's lifetime-best 54.23 was good for a B cut and seventh place, as all eight A Finalists met the NCAA B standard. In the B Final, Ashley Mauzy swam a lifetime-best 55.55 for 12th overall, while Shelby Black clocked 55.83, a personal best, for 14th.

A pair of Liberty freshmen provided big highlights in the 400 IM. Kiah Francis swam a program-record, NCAA B cut time of 4:18.70 in the final to finish as runner-up, while Emily Manly's best time of 4:22.67 placed fifth. Francis and Manly are first and third, respectively, on the program's all-time top 10 list in the event.

Prudence Rooker earned her third straight second-place finish in the 100 breaststroke in NCAA B cut time of 1:01.77. She finished just behind FGCU's Sommer Harris (1:01.34), who became the first swimmer to win the 100 breaststroke twice at the CCSA Championships. Liberty's Ricki Lee Hodges placed sixth in the A Final in a lifetime-best 1:02.95, while Morgan Noonan's 1:05.89 was good for 15th overall at night. Rooker and Hodges are third and fourth in the 100 breaststroke in program history.

Hannah Baker claimed her second top-three finish of this week's meet, taking third in the 200 free in 1:48.64. Colleen Donlin swam a lifetime-best 1:50.05 for fifth, while Elizabeth Magnusson (1:50.62) took seventh. Shelby Black won the B Final in personal-best 1:50.59, while Chelsea Pond (1:50.88) and Ashlee Sall (1:51.53) placed 11th and 13th, respectively.

Liberty's 400 medley relay led from start to finish, as the quartet of Weiss (53.02), Rooker (1:01.08), Finnigan (53.41) and Donlin (49.24) clocked a 3:36.75, just .03 second shy of a program record.

Preliminary Round Recap
The morning opened with Finnigan swimming the fastest 100 fly in qualifying, NCAA B cut 53.53, while Cohee tied for sixth in qualifying at 54.69. Mauzy (55.76) and Black (56.09) both made the B Final.

Francis and Manly both excelled in the morning heats of the 400 IM, with Francis swimming 4:21.95 for second and Manly clocking 4:23.26 for fifth. They would duplicate those placings in the finals.

Liberty qualified three swimmers each for the A Final and B Final of the 200 free, led by Baker's second-place qualification in 1:49.05. Donlin took sixth in 1:50.15, while Magnusson's 1:50.86 was good for seventh. Sall (1:51.25), Black (1:51.27) and Pond (1:51.28), separated by just .03 seconds, all qualified for the B Final. Allie Murphy clocked a best time, 1:57.11, while Jasmine Duguid went 1:57.47 and Corrilynn Lynch swam a lifetime-best 1:59.13.

Rooker turned in the best 100 breaststroke time in the morning, 1:01.69, while Hodges followed in fourth at 1:03.03 and Noonan made the B Final in 1:06.11.

Keiner swam the fastest 100 back in qualifying, at 53.71 and Weiss was just behind in 53.72, while Hoeve (56.73) earned B Final position. In morning heats, Danielle Boothe swam 57.40 and Siani Null clocked a lifetime-best 57.87.

In one-meter diving, Jenna Joyal scored 220.45 points for 13th place, while Amy Schools took 16th with 183.00 points. Ellen Tart scored a personal best 167.70 for 18th. Taylor Lynch (lifetime-best 145.60) and Christine Young (138.15) also competed for Liberty.    

The Lady Flames are 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.