Add Another: Moccasins Claim Men's 200 Medley Relay Title at National Finals
BIRMINGHAM – One day down, and one national title has been added to the list for the Florida Southern men’s swimming team. It came with a meet-record time attached to it too, as the Moccasins won gold in the 200-yard medley relay in the final race of the night at the NCAA Division II National Championships. It marks Florida Southern’s third relay win in the last two seasons at the national meet, and it put the Moccasins in second place at the end of the day.
Ironically, the Moccasins were not among the nine invited 200 medley relay teams at the meet, but the group they assembled in Birmingham ended up beating all of those who were. With senior Jeb Halfacre (Gainesville, FL) swimming the leadoff leg, junior Robbie Swan (Snellville, GA) on the anchor, and senior Miguel Ferreira (Caracas, Venezuela) and sophomore Allan Gutierrez (San Pedro Sula, Honduras) in between, the Mocs broke the previous national record by .04 seconds. Their time of 1:27.21 was also a school record by more than 1.5 seconds, bettering the time they had at last year’s national finals when they placed tenth. Halfacre, Ferreira and Swan were part of that one too with help from Bruce Janzen.
This year, the Mocs edged out Grand Canyon by only .02 seconds, and defending champ Bridgeport (CT) was 0.61 seconds off the pace. They got to the finals after finishing second in the prelims to Grand Canyon by a mere 0.03 seconds, with junior Zach Edwards (Jacksonville, FL) swimming anchor in place of Swan.
The Moccasins got off to a great start Wednesday morning in the preliminaries by getting two of their swimmers through to the championships finals of the 200-yard individual medley, and one more into the 50-yard freestyle.
The 200 IM featured Halfacre and sophomore Luis Rojas (Caracas, Venezuela) as two of the top competitors for the second year in a row, and they finished fourth and sixth respectively in the prelims. Florida Southern and Incarnate Word (TX) were the only schools to have two swimmers reach the finals in that event, while Drury (MO) had three in the consolation finals. Halfacre’s time of 1:47.38 was only three one-hundredths off his own school record set during the 2012 national championships, and Rojas was three-tenths of a second behind him.
Ferreira also qualified for the finals in the 50 freestyle with a school-record time of 20.06 seconds, shattering Halfacre’s old mark by 0.41 seconds, which had been set three years ago in the Bluegrass Mountain Conference Championships.
Before any of those swimmers got into the pool Wednesday night, however, freshman Juan Tolosa (Guipuzcoa, Spain) was competing in the final heat of the 1,000-yard freestyle time finals. With the time to beat from the morning session 9:11.82, Tolosa swam his race in 9:15.54, just off his school-record time in February’s SSC Championships. That was good for eighth place in the national finals, and was the second fastest score posted by a freshman.
The 200 IM followed with Halfacre placing third in a time of 1:46.63, which broke his own school record he’d set at last year’s national championships. He was 1.81 seconds behind the winner, Piotr Jachowicz of Wayne State (MI), who set a new meet record with his winning time. With Rojas finishing eighth, the Mocs picked up 27 points in the event to jump into second place behind Incarnate Word (TX) in the team standings, albeit after two events.
Ferreira also placed eighth in the 50 freestyle with a time of 20.28 seconds, allowing the Mocs to close the gap on Incarnate Word. However, Drury (MO) jumped ahead of both schools and into first by taking fifth, ninth, 10th and 13th in the 50 freestyle.
After winning the 200 medley relay though, Florida Southern was right back in second place when the night ended, with a total of 89 points, leading third-place Incarnate Word by four, and fourth-place Grand Canyon and Wayne State (MI) by 16. Drury remained first with 109 points.