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Keiner Set to Compete at NCAA Swimming & Diving Championships

March 17, 2021  Lynchburg, Va.  RSS
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Payton Keiner will compete in the 100 backstroke and 200 backstroke at the 2021 NCAA Division I Women's Swimming & Diving Championship.

Payton Keiner will compete in the 100 backstroke and 200 backstroke at the 2021 NCAA Division I Women's Swimming & Diving Championship.

Liberty senior Payton Keiner is set to compete at the 2021 NCAA Division I Women's Swimming & Diving Championship, held this week at Greensboro Natatorium in Greensboro, N.C.

Keiner will compete in the women's 100 backstroke on Friday before contesting the 200 backstroke on Saturday.

2021 NCAA Division I Women's Swimming & Diving Championship
Greensboro Aquatic Center - Greensboro, N.C.

March 17-20
Friday, March 19 (10 a.m. prelims, 6 p.m. finals)

Payton Keiner in 100 backstroke
ESPN3.com | Live Results

Saturday, March 20 (10 a..m. prelims, 6 p.m. finals)
Payton Keiner in 200 backstroke
ESPN3.com | Live Results

Liberty senior Payton Keiner is set to compete at the 2021 NCAA Division I Women's Swimming & Diving Championship, held this week at Greensboro Natatorium in Greensboro, N.C.

 

Keiner will be making her second appearance at the NCAA Championships, as she competed in the 100 and 200 backstroke at nationals as a freshman in 2018. Keiner was selected to compete at the 2020 NCAA Division I Women's Swimming & Diving Championships, but the meet was cancelled due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

This is the seventh time in 11 years of the program's history that at least one Lady Flame has been selected to compete in the NCAA Division I Women's Swimming & Diving Championships. The Lady Flames have had two All-America honorable mention finishers, in Brye Ravettine (13th in 50 free, 2012) and Jess Reinhardt (10th in 100 fly, 2014). All competitors at the cancelled 2020 NCAA Championships were named All-Americans, so Keiner received All-American honors last year.

What's at Stake
Each of the final three days (Thursday through Saturday) of the 2021 NCAA Division I Women's Swimming & Diving Championships begins at 10 a.m. with preliminary heats. Finals sessions will begin at 6 p.m. each evening,

The NCAA Championships will feature a four-day meet format. The top 16 times from each event in morning prelims qualify for evening finals, with the top eight swimming in the A Final. Those who complete races in the A Final earn All-America first team status, while B Finalists are named honorable mention All-Americans.

How She Got Here 
Keiner earned her spot at nationals with her CCSA-winning 1:54.73 200 backstroke time. That time ranks 38th in the field. The senior also earned a B cut in the 100 backstroke, swimming 53.46 to win the CCSA title for the third year in a row. 

At the 2021 CCSA Championships, Keiner won both the 100 and 200 backstroke for the third straight year. She holds the program record with seven individual event victories all-time at CCSA Championships. The Cincinnati, Ohio native is one of just three swimmers all-time to win one event four times at the CCSA Championships, claiming four straight 200 backstroke titles. 

Keiner is the program record holder in the 50 back (24.82), 100 back (52.60) and 200 back (1:52.63), all set at the 2020 CCSA Championships, while she also holds the CCSA and meet records in the 200 backstroke.

Friday, March 19
Friday's action features the 100's of each stroke, along with the 200 freestyle and 400 IM. Keiner earned inclusion in the meet on her merits at the 200-yard distance, but will also compete on Friday based on earning a B cuts in the 100 fly.

100 Backstroke Preview
Keiner opens her NCAA's by swimming the prelims of the 100 back. She is ranked 53rd on the psych sheet with an entry time of 53.46, although her lifetime-best swim at this distance was a program-record 52.60 at the 2020 CCSA Championships. In 2019, 51.79 was the 16th fastest qualifier, while 51.04 was the last A Finalist.

Only two 100 backstroke All-Americans return from the last contested nationals in 2019. Cal's Izzy Ivey, the 2021 Pac-12 Swimmer of the Meet, is seeded fifth this year at 51.12 after finishing fourth in this event at the 2019 NCAA Championships. 2021 SEC Swimmer of the Meet Rhyan White of Alabama has the top seed, at 50.20. Back-to-back ACC champion Katharine Berkoff (NC State) is seeded second with her meet-record 50.45 set at the ACC Championships. The third seed is held by Cal's Isabelle Stadden (50.86), while 2021 Big 12 Newcomer of the Meet Olivia Bray of Texas has the fourth seed (51.04).

This year's eighth seed is held by Phoebe Bacon of Wisconsin (51.32), while Kentucky's Sophia Sorenson is seeded 16th at 52.02.

Saturday, March 20
On Saturday, Keiner will complete her final collegiate swims, competing in her best event, the 200 backstroke.

200 Backstroke Preview
Keiner contests the 200 backstroke on Saturday. She is ranked 38th in the nation with her 1:54.73 from the 2021 CCSA A Final. The senior has swum 1:52.63 in this event before, during her CCSA-record swim at the 2020 CCSA meet. In 2019, the last B Finalist swam 1:53.07 in prelims and it took 1:51.50 to make the A Final.

None of the top 16 finishers from the 2019 national championship 200 backstroke finals are competing in the 200 back at this week's championship. The SEC top scorer Rhyan White of Alabama has the top seed by more than a second, at 1:48.55. Pac-12 champion Isabelle Stadden of Cal is seeded second at 1:49.77. The third (Emma Muzzy – 1:50.12) and fourth (Katharine Berkoff – 1:50.20) seeds both belong to NC State swimmers. The BIG Ten champion, Wisconsin's Phoebe Bacon, holds the fifth seed (1:50.90).

This year's eighth seed is held by Emma Atkinson of Virginia Tech (1:51.64), while Ohio State's Kristen Romano is seeded 16th at 1:53.18.