ORLANDO – Alec Wathen put his name into the Florida Southern record book Friday night, and Jesus Marin put the Moccasins in the win column too. Wathen set a new school record in the 400-individual medley, and Marin took gold in the 200-freestyle, as Florida Southern remained in second place at the Sunshine State Conference Championships, just 13 points behind Nova Southeastern.
Wathen, a redshirt sophomore from Sunrise, Florida, was Florida Southern's top swimmer in the first individual race of the night, the 400-IM. He placed seventh in the finals at 4:00.32 after earlier swimming his best time of the season during the prelims at 3:58.42. It was that time that established a new school record in the 400-IM, breaking the mark of 4:00.28 previously set by Jeb Halfacre at the 2012 SSC Championships.
Senior Dylan Lake (Los Alamos, N.M.) and freshman Parker Basting (Gainesville, Fla.) gave the Moccasins more points in the 400-IM by reaching the consolation finals. Nova Southeastern sophomore Marco Aldabe took gold for the second year in a row in 3:54.14.
Marin picked up his win in the final individual race of the night, taking the 200-freestyle with his best time of the season and finishing 0.55 seconds ahead of Tampa's Jeremy Parker. The junior from Cumana, Venezuela also set a new championship record in the 200 with his time of 1:37.50, which was 0.26 seconds faster than the time posted by current teammate Luis Rojas in 2013. (Halfacre holds the official meet record for the 200-freestyle with a 1:36.99 that he swam in the leadoff leg of the 800-freestyle relay in 2013.)
In between the 400-IM and the 200-freestyle, Nova Southeastern's Thiago Sickert set a meet record in winning the 100-butterfly. He defeated 2-time defending champion Matheu Assis by 0.08 seconds, but they were the only swimmers in the championship finals from those two schools. Instead, it was Florida Southern that held down most of those where sophomore Marco Palacios (Madrid, Spain), junior Raul Garrastazu (Dorado, P.R.) and junior Edson Lima (Rio de Janeiro, Brazil) all qualified. Palacios was the team leader in fourth place at 48.34 seconds, with Garrastazu sixth and Lima eighth.
Palacios' time nearly bumped Lima out of the top time spot for Florida Southern in the 100-fly this season. The Mocs also got sophomore Diego Gimenez (Burgos, Spain) and sophomore Evan Coleman (Yarmouth, Maine) into the consolation finals.
In Friday's two relay events, Florida Southern placed third in the 200-freestyle relay, and second in the 400-medley. Both races saw conference records fall there as well, with Tampa winning the first one, and Nova Southeastern winning the second to bring Friday night to a close.
Senior Allan Gutierrez (San Pedro Sula, Honduras), senior Luis Rojas (Caracas, Venezuela), sophomore Diego Gimenez (Burgos, Spain), and Lima posted a time of 1:21.36 in the 200-freestyle relay where Tampa's top team won the race in a meet record 1:19.80. Later, it was Palacios, freshman Luis Jasso (Monterrey, Mexico), Lima, and Marin who won a silver medal in the 400-medley relay at 3:15.24. That was the fastest time ever posted by Florida Southern in the SSC Championships in that event, but the Sharks won gold in 3:12.52.
Florida Southern not only had a silver medal in the 400-medley relay, the Moccasins also won the B race as well. That team of Gutierrez, Lake, Garrastazu and junior Collin Latham (Rancho Santa Margarita, Calif.) had a time of 3:20.38 to finish two spots ahead of Nova's B team.
Those results though allowed the Sharks to hold on to their slim lead over the Moccasins in the SSC Championship standings. The Sharks had started the day ahead by only 14 points, and ended it with a 13-point lead (384-371). Tampa wasn't far behind either with 349 points, and Saint Leo was fourth with 280.
Day three of the SSC Championships begins with prelims Saturday morning at 10 a.m., and concludes Saturday night at 6 p.m. with finals in five more events.