Liberty Swimming & Diving earns CSCAA All-America team distinction
After obtaining a 3.65 team GPA during the spring 2019 semester, the Liberty Swimming & Diving team was included on the College Swimming Coaches Association of America (CSCAA) Scholar All-America Team list. Additionally, a program-record six Lady Flames have been named CSCAA Individual Scholar All-Americans.
Liberty’s six Scholar All-Americans all received honorable mention. The list includes senior Alicia Finnigan, redshirt sophomore Mikayla Herich, sophomore Payton Keiner and freshmen Lauren Chennault, Abigail Egolf-Jensen and Olivia Robinson.
This is the second year in a row that Liberty has had multiple freshmen honored as Scholar All-Americans, with Keiner and Kiah Francis both earning the award last year. Finnigan is the first swimmer in program history to be named a Scholar All-American four times, while Chennault, Egolf-Jensen and Robinson are the first three Liberty divers to receive Scholar All-American mention. Liberty’s six Scholar All-American honors are the most by any CCSA team this year.
The Individual Scholar All-America award is given to college swimmers and divers who have earned a 3.5 cumulative GPA or higher, and have qualified for and competed at the national championship. Honorable mention is given to college swimmers and divers with a 3.5 GPA or higher who attained a “B” standard or Zone Diving score but were not invited to the national championship.
The CSCAA also announced its Scholar All-America Team awards, which were received by a record 777 programs, spanning high school, NCAA, NAIA and NJCAA. In order to qualify for the award, a team must have achieved a cumulative grade point average of 3.0 or higher during the previous semester.
As a team, the Lady Flames earned a cumulative team GPA of 3.65 in the spring of 2019. Liberty’s GPA is tied for the 20th best in NCAA Division I this semester. This was the second-highest cumulative team GPA for a semester in program history, trailing only fall 2018, when the Lady Flames’ 3.79 GPA led all collegiate swimming & diving teams. All nine Coastal Collegiate Swimming Association (CCSA) women’s teams appear on the most recent Scholar All-America Team list, with Liberty posting the highest GPA of any conference school.
Liberty has now earned CSCAA academic honors as a team during each of the past 16 semesters, dating back to the fall 2011 semester.
A native of Sugar Land, Texas, Finnigan graduated in May with a bachelor’s degree in interdisciplinary studies. She was voted to the Google Cloud Academic All-America® At-Large second team for the second year in a row. Finnigan set a program record with 10 career CCSA podium appearances, including three straight victories at the conference championships in the 200 fly. A two-time NCAA participant, Finnigan concluded her career as the program’s top performer at 200 fly (1:55.58).
A nursing major from Cincinnati, Ohio, Keiner continued her dominance in the backstroke. The 2018 Most Outstanding Freshman of the CCSA Meet, Keiner won both the 100 and 200 backstroke at the 2019 CCSA Championships. Her leadoff leg (52.82) of the 400 medley relay helped spark Liberty’s CCSA championship in the event. Also, her 52.82 was just .01 off of the program record for the 100 backstroke.
Hailing from Hebron, Ky., Herich, a criminal justice major, made an immediate impact at Liberty during her first year after transferring from Ohio. She won the 200 IM at the CCSA Championships in a program-record NCAA B cut time of 1:59.82. Herich clocked a B cut 4:15.23 to take second in the CCSA 400 IM A Final. The redshirt sophomore was named CCSA Women’s Swimmer of the Week on Oct. 31.
Robinson, a native of Friendswood, Texas, helped put Liberty’s diving program on the map as a freshman pre-med major. The freshman was named VaSID State Rookie Diver of the Year. She became the first Liberty diver to qualify for the NCAA Zone Championships on one-meter, three-meter and platform. Additionally, she placed second in one-meter and three-meter diving at the CCSA Championships. A two-time CCSA Women’s Diver of the Week honoree, Robinson is Liberty’s program record holder on platform (229.58).
An aviation major hailing from Coppell, Texas, Chennault had a standout freshman campaign. She holds Liberty’s program records in both one-meter (287.10) and three-meter (317.85) diving, setting both records at the Liberty Diving Invitational. She was twice named CCSA Women’s Diver of the Week. She earned two podium finishes at the 2019 CCSA Championships, finishing third in both springboard events. Chennault posted five event victories during the regular season and competed in the Zone Championships on one-meter and three-meter springboard.
Blaine, Minn., native Egolf-Jensen ranks third in program history in both one-meter (277.35) and three-meter (272.25) diving. The freshman will pursue a biology major at Liberty. She earned two A Finals appearances at the CCSA Championships this year, finishing seventh in one-meter diving and ninth on three-meter springboard. Egolf-Jensen participated at the NCAA Zone Championships, and also teamed with Chennault to place seventh in women’s three-meter synchronized diving at the 2019 USA Diving Senior National Championships.
These student-athletes helped the Lady Flames earn a perfect 15-0 record in dual meets during the 2018-19 season, including 6-0 against CCSA opponents. Liberty claimed its second CCSA title, and first since 2014, outscoring four-time defending conference champion FGCU by nearly 200 points at the CCSA meet.