With one day remaining at the 2018 Sunshine State Conference Men’s Swimming Championships, Florida Southern remained second in the overall standings but closed the gap behind Nova Southeastern with a heavy haul of medals. Brandon Dyck claimed the gold in the 100-backstroke, Luis Jasso did the same in the 100-breast, and the 800-freestyle relay team closed out the night with another one. Add to that silver medals from Matthew Holmes in the 500-free, Sean Kim in the 100-breast, and Miguel Bernotti in the 200-fly; and a bronze from Luka Matacin in the 100-back, and the Moccasins are still in the hunt.
HOW IT HAPPENED:
- The run of medals started with Holmes in the 500-free where he had a runner-up finish in 4:26.92, putting him 2.25 seconds behind Saint Leo’s Matija Rajif with his first NCAA “B” time in that event this season. Defending champion Franco Lupoli from Nova Southeastern finished ninth this year. The Moccasins also got a fourth-place finish from Matias Lopez and seventh-place finish from Luka Planinc, with each of them putting up NCAA “B” times as well. The Mocs didn’t stop there either. Jonathan Sawyer and Charles Gotsch had two more provisional qualifying times in 12th and 13th place.
- Florida Southern was in total control in the 100-backstroke where Dyck won, Matacin finished third and Talor Hamilton was fourth. They also got a 12th place finish from Christian Gilbreath. Dyck’s winning time of 47.69 seconds was 1.36 seconds ahead of runner-up Milosz Mikicin from Saint Leo, and one second faster than his previous best time of the season. Matacin moved up to second on the Florida Southern times list this season, but Dyck was their only NCAA provisional qualifier.
- The 100-breaststroke saw Florida Southern take the top two positions, with Jasso finishing 1.26 seconds ahead of Kim. Jasso challenged his own school record with a time of 53.58 seconds, with Kim touching in 54.84. Noah Franz reached the A final too and came in seventh in 56.20 seconds. The 100-breast also marked the second straight event in which Nova Southeastern did not have a medalist, allowing Florida Southern to significantly close the gap.
- Florida Southern nearly had three straight individual gold medals when Bernotti finished second in the 200-butterfly to Nova Southeastern’s Magnus Poulsen. Bernotti had an NCAA “B” time of 1:46.94, becoming the first Moccasin to accomplish that this season. He was 0.66 seconds behind Poulsen. Calvin Giang reached the B final Saturday and placed 13th.
- Florida Southern picked up its third gold medal of the night when the 800-freestyle relay team of Holmes, Matacin, Planinc and Lopez put together an NCAA “B” time of 6:33.38. Their winning margin of 0.19 seconds over Saint Leo was the closest ever in the SSC championship race, and only the third time it was decided by less than two seconds. The Moccasins’ second team of Carlos Bernotti, Levi Parsons, Gotsch and Sawyer also beat their Nova counterparts to get Florida Southern even closer in the overall team standings.
INSIDE THE NUMBERS:
- With Holmes finishing second, Florida Southern has had either the gold or silver medalist in the 500-freestyle five of the last six years.
- A Florida Southern swimmer has won the 100-backstroke all but once in the eight-year history of the SSC Championships. Jeb Halfacre has two titles, Luis Rojas one, and Marco Palacios three.
- Prior to winning this year’s 100-breaststroke title, Jasso had finished third once and second once. Previous Florida Southern champions Miguel Ferreira and Spencer Rowe won four straight titles in the 100-breast from 2011-14, and Jasso regained the title for the Moccasins after three straight wins by Nova’s Anton Lobanov.
- Florida Southern has won the 800-freestyle relay five times in eight years at the SSC Championships and ended Nova’s two-year run in the top spot.
- With one day remaining in the SSC Championships, Nova Southeastern still leads Florida Southern, 665-622 in the overall standings. Florida Tech is a distant third with 396 points, followed by Tampa (383), Saint Leo (331), and Rollins (159).
The Sunshine State Conference Championships conclude Sunday with prelims at 10 a.m. and finals at 5 p.m. in the last five events.