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Depth Decides the Day for Florida Southern; #3 Moccasins Defeat #15 Nova Southeastern

Depth Decides the Day for Florida Southern; #3 Moccasins Defeat #15 Nova Southeastern

DAVIE – With junior Raul Garrastazu and sophomore Marco Palacios each winning two individual events, and senior Allan Gutierrez on a pair of winning relay teams, 3rd-ranked Florida Southern defeated #15 Nova Southeastern 143-119 in a dual meet Saturday afternoon.

The Moccasins led from start to finish, even though the Sharks won eight of the 12 individual races held. The Mocs made up any ground they lost, however, by winning both relay races and having the second, third, and fourth-place finishers in four of the individual races they lost. They also took second and third in the other four they lost, meaning the Sharks never had the top two swimmers in any race.

Palacios (Madrid, Spain) was really the big winner for Florida Southern. In addition to winning both the 100- and 200-backstroke, he also swam the backstroke leg on the winning 200-medley relay team that opened the meet with an NCAA provisional qualifying time of 1:30.88. That team also featured senior Spencer Rowe (Ringgold, Ga.) on the breaststroke, junior Edson Lima (Rio de Janeiro, Brazil) on the butterfly, and Gutierrez (San Pedro Sula, Honduras) on the freestyle.

Garrastazu followed the relay victory with his first win by taking the 1,000-freestyle. The Sharks' Shane Kleinbeck then won the 200-freestyle, but junior Jesus Marin (Cumana, Venezuela) and senior Luis Rojas (Caracas, Venezuela) were second and third. Marin's time of 1:40.35 was only 0.21 seconds behind Kleinbeck, and was the first of the Moccasins' three individual NCAA provisional times on Saturday. Palacios had another by taking gold in the 100-backstroke in 50.26 seconds, with Lima and sophomore Evan Coleman (Yarmouth, Maine) third and fourth.

Nova got its second win of the meet through the first five races, as Anton Lobanov took the 100-breaststroke. Even so, it was the first of the four occasions on Saturday where a Shark swimmer touched the wall first, only to be followed by three straight Moccasins. In this case it was Rowe, new freshman Luis Jasso (Mexico), and senior Dylan Lake (Los Alamos, N.M.). Later, the same three Florida Southern swimmers would do the same thing in the 200-breaststroke, though in slightly different order.

Gutierrez got a pair of seconds in the back-to-back 50-freestyle and 100-freestyle, each time finishing second to Nova's Thiago Sickert. He had a provisional qualifying time of 20.86 seconds in the 50. The Mocs also took third in those races, with sophomore Diego Gimenez (Burgos, Spain) doing it in the 50, and Marin doing it in the 100.

Palacios then posted his second backstroke win of the day, this time in the 200, with Rojas third and Coleman fourth. After the Mocs' 2-3-4 finish in the 200-breaststroke, they did it again in the 500-freestyle, with junior Juan Tolosa (Guipuzcoa), Marin, and Garrastazu following another win by Kleinbeck.

The Sharks took the final two individual races (Sickert in the 100-butterfly, and Aldabe in the 200-IM), but Gimenez and Lima were second and third in the fly, and Rojas, Lake, and Rowe were second, third, and fourth in the individual medley.

The meet ended with Gutierrez, Gimenez, Marin, and junior Collin Latham (Rancho Santa Margarita, Calif.) winning the 200-freestyle relay.

Florida Southern will swim in its final dual meet of the season on Saturday, January 17, when it hosts NJCAA National Champion Indian River State at 11:30 a.m.