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Liberty to Honor Seniors at Home Meet Against Campbell, Marshall

January 24, 2019  Lynchburg, Va.  RSS
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Liberty will honor its seven senior swimmers with a Senior Day ceremony on Saturday.

Liberty will honor its seven senior swimmers with a Senior Day ceremony on Saturday.

The Liberty swimming & diving team will contest its final dual meet of the 2018-19 season this weekend, hosting Campbell and Marshall, Friday and Saturday at Liberty Natatorium.

This weekend's meet will begin on Friday at 6 p.m., and Saturday's session starts at 11 a.m.

The Lady Flames have gone 13-0 on the season, including 5-0 against CCSA teams. Liberty's top two wins on the season came against defending CAA champion James Madison and four-time defending CCSA champion FGCU.

Liberty is 12-2 all-time against Campbell and 5-0 versus Marshall. The Lady Flames opened the 2018-19 season with a 159-98 win at Campbell on Sept. 29, and defeated Marshall, 251-200, Nov. 9-10 in Huntington, W.Va.

Prior to Saturday's session, Liberty will honor its seven seniors – Shelby Black, Alicia Finnigan, Ricki Lee Hodges, Corrilynn Lynch, Elizabeth Magnusson, Ashley Mauzy and Siani Null – with a senior day ceremony.

How to Follow the Lady Flames
Live results will be available for both days of this weekend's meet both online and through meetmobile.

Liberty's CCSA Weekly Honorees (2018-19)
CCSA Swimmer of the Week – Fr. Gianni Pitto (Oct. 2, 2018; Jan. 22, 2019); R-So. Mikayla Herich (Oct. 31, 2018)

CCSA Diver of the Week – Fr. Olivia Robinson (Oct. 31, 2018); Fr. Lauren Chennault (Nov. 13, 2018)

Liberty has the top performances in the CCSA this season in the following events:
One-meter diving (6) – 282.75 (Lauren Chennault)
Platform diving (5) – 229.58 (Olivia Robinson)
1000 freestyle – 10:06.54 (Mikayla Herich)
1650 freestyle – 16:50.16 (Mikayla Herich)
200 butterfly – 1:56.33 (Alicia Finnigan)
400 IM – 4:21.76 (Gianni Pitto)

Team Notes
• On Jan. 5, the Lady Flames topped FGCU in a dual meet for the first time in program history, 173-122, while also downing Bowling Green and Buffalo. Liberty handed FGCU its first-ever conference home loss while extending the Lady Flames' conference winning streak to 12 dual meets.

• The Lady Flames have won 21 dual meets in a row, dating back to the Gardner-Webb Tri Meet on Oct. 27, 2017. The only NCAA Division I women's swimming & diving team with a longer active dual-meet winning streak is Stanford, which has won 25 straight dual meets. Michigan is third, at 20, followed by Texas (19).

• The Lady Flames have won the three-meter diving event each of the last five times it has been contested in dual-meet action.

• Liberty was impressive in its home debut, sweeping BYU, Gardner-Webb and Old Dominion during the All-American Celebration Meet, Oct. 26-27 at the Liberty Natatorium. It marked the first time in Liberty Athletics history to host BYU in any sport.

• Liberty has finished second at the CCSA Swimming & Diving Championships six times in the last seven years, with its lone CCSA title to date coming in 2014.

• Ninth-year Head Coach Jake Shellenberger has led the Lady Flames from the program's inception. He has posted a 97-30 dual-meet record, twice being named CCSA Women's Swimming Coach of the Year. His teams have gone 52-14 all-time against CCSA competition.

• Liberty has added its largest incoming class since the first year of the program, bringing in 14 new student-athletes (10 swimmers, four divers). This includes 11 freshmen, along with transfers Mikayla Herich (Ohio), Emily Zimcosky (Ohio) and Arielle Arnett (Oakland).

• Five Lady Flames earned CSCAA Scholar All-America honors last season. Alicia Finnigan and Payton Keiner were named to the first team, while Hannah Baker, Kiah Francis and Brittany Weiss received honorable mention.

Student-Athlete Notes
• Freshman Abigail Egolf-Jensen won one-meter diving at UNC Asheville last Saturday, her first collegiate diving victory. Her season-best score of 277.35 qualified her for one-meter diving at the NCAA Zone Diving Meet, making her the third Liberty diver to qualify for that meet.

• Freshman Lauren Chennault earned victory in three-meter diving at Marshall on Nov. 10. Her score of 287.55 set a new program record and also earned her a spot at the 2019 NCAA Zone Diving Meet. She then scored a Zone-qualifying 282.75 to win a one-meter competition on Nov. 16 at the Liberty Invitational. Chennault won three-meter diving at FGCU, scoring 275.40.

• Freshman Olivia Robinson won the three-meter diving event at the All-American Celebration Meet, the first Lady Flame to win a diving event at a dual meet. Robinson has qualified for the NCAA Zone Qualifying Meet on all three boards, including a program-record score of 229.58 on platform on Nov. 18.

• Redshirt sophomore Mikayla Herich won the 1650 freestyle in 16:50.16 at the Liberty Invitational, the fourth-fastest time in program history. She leads the CCSA in the both the 1000 (10:06.54) and 1650 freestyle this year. Arielle Arnett ranks fifth in program history for the 1650 with her 17:02.20 at the Liberty Invitational.

• Freshman Gianni Pitto has won an impressive 18 individual events so far this season, winning the 100 breaststroke seven times, the 200 breaststroke six times, the 400 IM four times and the 200 IM once. Her conference-leading 400 IM time of 4:21.76 is ranked third on Liberty's program all-time top 10 list in the event.

• Defending CCSA Women's Swimmer of the Year Alicia Finnigan claimed first in the 200 fly at the Liberty Invitational with an NCAA B cut time of 1:56.33. Finnigan is second on the team with 12 individual-event victories this season. She won the 100 fly at the Liberty Invitational in 53.91.

• Finnigan earned a spot at the 2020 U.S. Olympic Team Trials, finishing fifth in the 200 meter butterfly at the 2018 USA Swimming Winter National Championships. She was one of a program-record four Lady Flames in the meet, joined by Lindsey Cohee (200 fly), Payton Keiner (200 back) and Gianni Pitto (200 breaststroke).

• Junior Brittany Weiss won the 100 backstroke in 11 straight meets before placing second at the All-American Celebration meet with a 55.42. She placed second in the 200 IM in 2:02.79 at the Liberty Invitational, moving into fifth place in program history in the event.

• Junior Colleen Donlin has won the 50 freestyle at seven dual meets this season.

• Sophomore Payton Keiner swam 1:59.88 in the 200 backstroke at the All-American Celebration Meet, becoming the first Liberty swimmer to break 2:00 in the 200 back in a regular-season meet.

• Sophomore Lindsey Cohee won the 200 fly in 2:01.51 at FGCU, edging out teammate Finnigan as Liberty placed two finishers ahead of FGCU's Christina Kaas Elmgreen, who is the conference record holder in the event.

• Keiner returns after earning 2018 Most Outstanding Freshman of the CCSA Meet honors. She won the 200 back and finished second in the 100 back at the CCSA Championships, and went on to compete in both events at the NCAA national meet. She holds the CCSA record in the 200 back (1:53.68).

• Three Liberty newcomers, transfer Mikayla Herich (1000 free) and freshmen Gianni Pitto (100 breaststroke, 200 breaststroke, 400 IM) and Emma Hazel (200 back), won in their Liberty debut at Campbell. Fellow newcomers, transfers Emily Zimcosky (Ohio) and Arielle Arnett (Oakland), earned their first victories as Lady Flames at New Mexico State.

• Senior Alicia Finnigan was named the NCAA ELITE 90 Award winner for having the top GPA at the 2018 NCAA Division I Women's Swimming & Diving Championships. Finnigan also earned Google Cloud At-Large Academic All-America second team honors.

• Finnigan won the 200 fly at the CCSA Championships for the second year in a row before making her second straight appearance at the NCAA Championships.

• Weiss repeated as CCSA champion in the 100 back last season, winning in program-record 52.81. She was named the 2017 Most Outstanding Freshman of the CCSA Meet.

• Sophomore Kiah Francis set the program 400 IM record at 4:18.70, taking second in the event at the 2018 CCSA meet.

Matchup Highlights
• Marshall finished third at the 2018 Conference USA Swimming & Diving Championships, its third straight third-place conference finish. The Herd's top returners are Catherine Bendziewicz and Jordyn O'Dell, who both earned CSCAA Scholar All-America honorable mention in 2017-18. Bendziewicz has twice won the 200 IM at the C-USA Championships, while O'Dell was bronze medalist in the 100 back last year. Bendziewicz holds Marshall's 200 free record.

• Campbell finished sixth at the 2018 CCSA Swimming & Diving Championships, scoring 759 points. Megan Everritt (50 back, 100 back), Taylor McMinn (100 breaststroke, 200 breaststroke), Maddie Baiotto (100 fly) and Madison Scott (200 fly) all currently hold Campbell program records.

Order of Events – Liberty vs. Campbell/Marshall
Session 1 – Jan. 25, 2019 – 6 p.m.

200 Medley Relay
500 Freestyle
100 Back
100 Breast
50 Free
Three-meter diving (full break)
200 Free
200 Fly
200 IM
200 Free Relay 

Session 2 – Jan. 26, 2019 – 11 a.m.
400 Medley Relay and one-meter Diving to start the meet (swim/dive concurrent)
1000 Free
200 Back
200 Breast
100 Free
100 Fly
Exhibition Platform Diving (full break)
400 IM
400 Free Relay

Up Next
For the first time in program history, the Lady Flames will host the Liberty Diving Invitational. The three-day meet will be held at the Liberty Natatorium next Friday through Sunday. Each day will begin with prelims starting at 10 a.m. and conclude with evening finals at 5 p.m.