Olympic Trials qualifications, finals highlight Liberty at nationals

LibertyLiberty’s Alicia Finnigan and Payton Keiner both had a successful showing at the 2019 Phillips 66 National Championships, held at Stanford’s Avery Aquatics Center.

Keiner, a rising junior from Cincinnati, Ohio, earned her spot in the 2020 U.S. Olympic Team Trials in the 100 backstroke and 200 backstroke. Additionally, Keiner finished 14th in the 200-meter backstroke. Finnigan, a 2019 graduate of Liberty, posted a C Final finish in the 200-meter butterfly.

This is the ninth year in a row in which the Lady Flames have had at least one swimmer compete at the national or international level. It is the program’s fifth appearance in the Phillips 66 Nationals, and third in a row.

Liberty Competitors

  • Sr. Alicia Finnigan – 200 butterfly (22nd place overall in 2:11.61) (qualified 18th overall in 2:12.07); 100 butterfly (38th place in 1:00.23)
  • So. Payton Keiner – 200 backstroke (14th place overall in 2:12.82) (qualified 13th overall in 2:12.60); 100 backstroke (36th place in 1:02.51) (swam 1:01.76 in time trial on Wednesday)


  • Keiner qualified for the 2020 U.S. Olympic Team Trials in both the 100 and 200-meter backstroke with times attained at this week’s Phillips 66 Nationals.
  • Keiner joins Finnigan as two Lady Flames who have qualified so far to compete at the 2020 Olympic Trials, as Finnigan had previously qualified in both the 100 and 200 butterfly.
  • Liberty will be represented at the U.S. Olympic Team Trials in swimming for the third time in program history, as Liberty swimmers competed in the Olympic Trials in both 2012 and 2016.
  • Four different Lady Flames have now scored points (A or B Final) at a USA Swimming National meet all-time. These include Brye Ravettine (2011 Winter Nationals), Emilie Kaufman (2013 U.S. Open), Alicia Finnigan, (2017 and 2018 Phillips 66 Nationals, 2018 Winter Nationals) and Payton Keiner (2019 Phillips 66 Nationals).

Wednesday, July 31

200-Meter Butterfly

  • After earning 10th place in the 200-meter butterfly at the Phillips 66 Nationals each of the last two years, Finnigan placed 22nd overall with a time of 2:11.61 in the C Final on opening night.

Time Trial

  • Competing in time trials in the afternoon, Keiner earned her spot in the 2020 U.S. Olympic Team Trials, swimming a lifetime-best 1:01.76 in the 100-meter backstroke.

Thursday, Aug. 1

200-Meter Backstroke

  • Keiner made a major time drop in the 200-meter backstroke, swimming a lifetime-best 2:12.60 to finish 13th in qualifying. Her previous best in the event was 2:16.04. The effort also earned Keiner a spot in the 2020 Olympic Trials for the 200 backstroke, one day after qualifying for the in the 100 backstroke. She then placed sixth in the B Final in 2:12.82.

Friday, Aug. 2

100-Meter Butterfly

  • On Friday, Finnigan wrapped up her collegiate career with a 38th-place finish in the 100-meter butterfly, swimming 1:00.23 in morning prelims. That effort was just .02 seconds off of her lifetime-best of 1:00.21 in this event.

Saturday, Aug. 3

100-Meter Backstroke

  • Liberty’s participation at the Phillips 66 Nationals concluded on Saturday when Keiner swam 1:02.51 in prelims of the 100-meter backstroke to finish 36th overall in the event.

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