Liberty earned runner-up at the conference meet for the fourth year in a row, taking second at the 2018 CCSA Championships, which wrapped up on Saturday at Georgia's Gabrielsen Natatorium.
Florida Gulf Coast won its fourth straight CCSA women's championship, and ninth in the last 10 years, as FGCU scored 1,612 points. The Lady Flames earned their sixth runner-up finish in the last seven seasons, with a program-record 1,501.5 points. Gardner-Webb finished third with 904.5 points, followed by Georgia Southern (832) and Incarnate Word (767.5) in that order.
Payton Keiner earned Most Outstanding Female Freshman of the CCSA Meet, becoming the fourth Lady Flame all-time to win the award. She joins Brye Ravettine (2011), Jess Reinhardt (2013) and current teammate Brittany Weiss (2017).
Prudence Rooker has tied Ravettine (2011-14) for the most career CCSA podium finishes, eight, and joins Victoria Tschoke (2014-17) as the second Lady Flame to finish top eight in all 12 CCSA events contested in her career.
For the second year in a row, Finnigan and Prudence Rooker both earned three podium finishes during the meet. They are the fifth and sixth swimmers in program history to post three top-three finishes at a CCSA Championship meet. The previous four were Ravettine (2012, 2013), Emilie Kaufman (2013, 2014), Reinhardt (2014) and Kendall Hough (2015, 2016).
On Saturday, Liberty recorded five podium finishes, three event victories, five NCAA B cuts, three meet records, two program records and one conference record. For the meet as a whole, the Lady Flames registered a program-record-tying 20 podium finishes, 16 NCAA B cuts, nine program records, two conference records, four meet records, and nine event victories. Liberty set new program records for NCAA B cuts and event victories at a CCSA Championship meet.
The quartet of Keiner, Hannah Baker, Weiss and Colleen Donlin won the 400 free relay in program-, meet- and conference-record 3:17.82. They broke the previous CCSA and meet record by .01 of a second. Keiner led off in 49.73, followed by Baker (49.19), Weiss (50.11) and Donlin (48.79).
Payton Keiner led the 200 backstroke from start to finish, breaking the program and meet record in a NCAA B cut time, 1:54.14. She beat her nearest competitor by over four seconds. Emily Manly placed fourth in a lifetime-best 2:00.17, shaving nearly a second and a half off of her morning qualifying time.
Finnigan earned her second CCSA 200 fly victory in as many years, winning is B cut, 1:56.41, while teammate Lindsey Cohee finished third in 1:57.85, a personal best and B cut. Ashley Mauzy won the C Final, finishing 17th overall in 2:06.11. Finnigan and Cohee are first and third in this event in program history.
Liberty took fourth through seventh in the 100 free, led by Hannah Baker's lifetime-best, NCAA B cut 49.99. She is the third swimmer in program history to break 50.00 in the 100 free. Brittany Weiss (50.00), Colleen Donlin (50.02) and Chelsea Pond (50.93) finished fifth through seventh, all in personal-best time. Elizabeth Magnusson won the B Final in lifetime-best 51.03, while Rachel Hoeve placed 13th overall in 51.71.
Rooker claimed third place in the 200 breaststroke in lifetime-best, NCAA B cut 2:14.80, while Kiah Francis' best time, 2:17.52, was good for seventh. Ricki Lee Hodges placed ninth overall, winning the B Final in personal-best 2:19.25, while Morgan Noonan swam 2:19.79, tying for 12th. Rooker is second in program history in the 200 breaststroke, while Francis is fifth.
Ashlee Sall got the evening session under way for the Lady Flames, finishing seventh in the 1,650 freestyle for the second year in a row, this time in a season-best 17:15.91.
Preliminary Round Recap Note: Any lifetime bests mentioned in this preliminary round recap were before the evening finals.
Keiner opened the morning by swimming the fastest time in the 200 fly, NCAA B cut and lifetime-best 1:57.07. Manly qualified fourth in personal-best 2:01.52. Siani Null (2:04.84) and Danielle Boothe both swam their best times in prelims.
Liberty earned four A Finalists in the 100 free, led by Weiss' third-place showing in lifetime-best 50.21. Baker (50.33) and Donlin (50.51) followed in fourth and fifth, while Pond qualified eighth in 50.90, all personal bests. Rachel Hoeve (51.21) and Elizabeth Magnusson (lifetime-best 51.27) both made the B Final. Corrilynn Lynch (53.56), Allie Murphy (54.71) and Jasmine Duguid (54.71) all swam 100 free in the morning, with Lynch and Murphy turning in personal bests.
Rooker became the second swimmer in program history to qualify for 12 CCSA A Finals, swimming a lifetime-best and NCAA B cut 2:15.16 for third in the 200 breast. Francis' personal-best 2:19.02 placed seventh, while Hodges (lifetime-best 2:20.16) and Noonan (2:20.40) both made the B Final.
The Lady Flames went 1-2 in morning qualifying for the 200 fly, as Finnigan set a new meet record in B cut 1:56.34. Cohee came in next in personal-best, NCAA B cut 1:58.48. Mauzy made the C Final in 2:11.12.
Liberty's swimmers who attained NCAA Division I B cuts will have one more chance to improve on their position to be selected to the 2018 NCAA Division I Women's Swimming & Diving Championship, which will take place March 14-17 in Columbus, Ohio. The selections will be announced by the NCAA on Wednesday, March 1. The Lady Flames will host the first Liberty Last Chance Meet, next Saturday and Sunday at Liberty Natatorium.