LAKELAND – In the final home meet of his career, senior Allan Gutierrez helped Florida Southern end the regular season with a very big win. With Gutierrez winning the 50-freestyle and the 100-freestyle, and swimming the leadoff leg for the victorious 200-freestyle relay team, the 3rd-ranked Moccasins defeated junior college national champion Indian River State, 127-77 on Saturday afternoon.
Florida Southern won six of the nine individual races and both relays against the 40-time defending NJCAA National Champs, though Gutierrez (San Pedro Sula, Honduras) was the Moccasins' only solo multi-event winner. Sophomore Marco Palacios (Madrid, Spain) did match Gutierrez though with three total wins, taking the 100-backstroke while also swimming with 400-medley and 200-freestyle relay teams.
The Mocs also continued their team winning streak in the 1,000-freestyle where junior Juan Tolosa (Guipuzcoa, Spain) was first on this occasion, and junior Jesus Marin (Cumana, Venezuela) notched his sixth win of the season in the 200-freestyle. Senior Luis Rojas (Caracas, Venezuela) gave the Mocs another win in the in the 200-IM.
The Moccasins won all five races before the first break Saturday, starting with the 400-medley relay where Palacios, senior Spencer Rowe (Ringgold, Ga.), junior Edson Lima (Rio de Janeiro, Brazil), and Marin put together a time of 3:22.07, which was only six one-hundredths of a second off an NCAA "B" standard.
Following the first relay, it was Tolosa, Marin, Gutierrez, and Rojas who reeled off fourth straight individual wins, and the Mocs also got runner-up finishes from junior Raul Garrastazu (Dorado, P.R.) and sophomore Diego Gimenez (Burgos, Spain) during that run as well. Tolosa and Garrastazu were the top two swimmers in the 1,000-freestyle, and one of those two Moccasins has won that race in every meet this season. Marin then hit an NCAA "B" time by winning the 200-freestyle in 1:41.25, with redshirt sophomore Alex Wathen (Sunrise, Fla.) and senior Dylan Lake (Los Alamos, N.M.) third and fourth.
The Mocs did even better in the 50-freestyle with Gutierrez right at the NCAA "B" time at 20.96 seconds, Gimenez second and Lima third. They went into the first break with another win after Rojas claimed the 200-IM, and the Mocs again held down third and fourth behind Rowe and sophomore Evan Coleman (Yarmouth, Maine).
Indian River notched its first win of the afternoon in the 100-butterfly, though Lima was 0.29 seconds behind Stefan Stojmenovic with his NCAA "B" time of 50.29 seconds.
Florida Southern jumped right back into the win column though when Gutierrez earned his second victory of the day and second provisional qualifying time by taking the 100-freestyle in 46.14 seconds. Marin was third and Lake was fourth. The Mocs had a similar result in the 100-backstroke, with Palacios barely missing an NCAA "B" time in his win, and Rojas and Gimenez placing third and fourth respectively.
The 500-freestyle was the tightest race of the day, with Indian River's Quinn Poti edging out Garrasatzu by .07 seconds. Even so, Garrastzu still posted his best time of the season, an NCAA "B" mark of 4:37.93, and Tolosa was third. The Pioneers got another win in the 100-breaststroke, though freshman Luis Jasso was a close second.
The Moccasins would close out the meet by winning the 200-freestyle relay by 0.87 seconds over the Pioneers' top team. Gutierrez put the Mocs out in front before junior Collin Latham (Rancho Santa Margarita, Calif.), Gimenez, and Palacios put things away. Palacios swam the final leg in 20.93 seconds to secure the win.
With the regular season complete, Florida Southern will now prepare for the Sunshine State Conference Championships in Orlando, to be held February 19-22.