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Liberty to Send Chennault, Freece to NCAA Zone Qualifying Meet

March 10, 2021  Lynchburg, Va.  RSS
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Lauren Chennault and Maddie Freece will compete in the NCAA Zone Diving Championships, Thursday and Friday.

Lauren Chennault and Maddie Freece will compete in the NCAA Zone Diving Championships, Thursday and Friday.

Liberty will make its third NCAA appearance in diving, sending a pair of divers to the 2021 NCAA Zone A Diving Championship, held this week at Greensboro Aquatic Center in Greensboro, N.C.

Liberty freshman Maddie Freece and junior Lauren Chennault be competing for a chance to earn a spot in the 2021 NCAA Division I Women's Swimming & Diving Championships.

The meet will begin on Thursday with women's one-meter springboard. Friday will see the three-meter springboard competition, and on Saturday will be platform diving. Chennault and Freece will both be competing in one-meter and three-meter diving.

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What's at Stake
Zone A will receive six qualifications to the NCAA Championships in one-meter diving, while the top five in both three-meter springboard and platform diving will make it to the national meet.

The top 18 from morning prelims will qualify for evening finals, with all scores carrying over. Each of those 18 divers will complete their full allotment of dives in the evening, and the top combined scores from morning and evening will advance to nationals.

There will be a total of 31 entrants in one-meter diving and 27 entrants in three-meter.

In three-meter diving, only two of last year's national qualifiers from Zone A (Virginia's Jennifer Bell and Jocelyn Porter) return this year. Similarly, two national qualifiers return in one-meter (Virginia Tech's Teagan Moravek and Navy's Hannah Montau).

How They Qualified
Chennault has earned her third career selection to the Zone Championships, while Freece will be the fourth Liberty freshman all-time to compete at Zones. Chennault, Abigail Egolf-Jensen and Olivia Robinson all competed at the meet as freshmen. All three of those divers were selected last year, but Chennault was unable to compete. 

Freece was named the 2021 Most Outstanding Diver of the CCSA Championship Meet, winning both one-meter and three-meter diving. Her winning score of 293.15 on one-meter set a new program record, while she scored 297.50 to claim the victory in three-meter diving.

A native of Lansdale, Pa., Freece became the first Lady Flame in program history to win three-meter diving at the CCSA Championships. She ranks second on Liberty's all-time top 10 list in three-meter springboard (297.50).

Chennault was the 2020 Co-Most Outstanding Diver of the CCSA Championships. She has made the podium in both one-meter and three-meter diving in all three conference meets in which she has competed.

She scored a season-high 270.10 on three-meter diving at the 2021 CCSA Championships, finishing third. Chennault then scored 269.15 on one-meter in finishing second to Freece for the conference title. The Coppell, Texas, native is Liberty's three-meter diving record holder (317.85) and second in one-meter diving (291.15).

Chennault and Freece are attempting to qualify for the 2021 NCAA Division I Women's Swimming & Diving Championships, held in Greensboro, N.C., March 17-20. Liberty has already learned that senior Payton Keiner will compete in both the 100 backstroke and 200 backstroke at the NCAA Championships next week.