INDIANAPOLIS – With five events held on day two of the NCAA Division II Swimming & Diving Championships, Florida Southern had a chance to move up the standings Thursday and took advantage of it by setting three school records and coming very close to two more. At the close of competition, and halfway through the championships, the Moccasins are now in seventh place overall.
The Moccasins run through the prelims Thursday morning put them in good position for the finals, with senior Allan Gutierrez (San Pedro Sula, Honduras) setting a new school record in the 100-butterfly, junior Jesus Marin (Cumana, Venezuela) doing the same in the 200-freestyle, and redshirt sophomore Alec Wathen (Sunrise, Fla.) nearly picking up another one in the 400-IM. On top of that, the 200-freestyle relay team of Gutierrez, senior Luis Rojas (Caracas, Venezuela), sophomore Marco Palacios (Madrid, Spain) and junior Raul Garrastazu (Dorado, P.R.) missed a school record by six one-hundredths of a second, and finished fourth in the prelims after going in as the #13 seed. The Mocs would later get that record Thursday night.
It was the 200-freestyle relay team that was up first too in the finals, and this time it was junior Edson Lima (Rio de Janeiro, Brazil) replacing Rojas and helping the Mocs finish sixth. Their new time of 1:19.82 broke a school record that was set at the 2014 National Finals, with Gutierrez part of that one as well.
Though Wathen fell just half a second short of a school record in the prelims of the 400-IM, he did not advance to the finals, meaning Florida Southern had to wait for the 100-butterfly to add to its point total.
When the Mocs did hit the pool for that event, it was with Lima in the consolation finals and Gutierrez in the championship finals. Ironically, it was Lima's record that Gutierrez had broken earlier in the day, and though he didn't quite match that time (47.34 seconds) Thursday night, he still put 11 more points on the board. With Lima adding two more, the Moccasins moved ahead of Tampa by 12 points and took over seventh place in the team standings.
Marin went on to finish sixth in the 200-freestyle, the best for a Florida Southern swimmer Thursday night after he'd broken the school record earlier in the day with a mark of 1:35.99. That record had been owned by Rojas, which he'd previously set at the 2013 NCAA Championships. The top six swimmers in this year's 200-freestyle all finished 1.23 seconds apart, with Marin at 1:36.30, and it was another swimmer from the Sunshine State Conference who won the gold medal in Nova Southeastern's Thiago Sickert. Rojas gave the Mocs an additional point with his finish in the consolation finals, and that one point briefly moved them one point ahead of Bridgeport, and into sixth place overall.
Bridgeport and Florida Southern flip-flopped once more in the final race of Thursday night, the 400-medley relay. The Knights ended up fourth and the Moccasins were fifth, a difference of two points. With Palacios swimming the backstroke leadoff leg, freshman Luis Jasso (Monterrey, Mexico) on the breaststroke, Lima on the butterfly, and Gutierrez taking the final 100-yard freestyle position, the Mocs turned in a time of 3:13.20 to better their prelim time by 1.65 seconds, though they fell 0.87 seconds short of the school record.
That gave Florida Southern a total of 132 points, with Bridgeport sitting in sixth place with 133.
Drury moved up from third place into first with 206 points, just 3½ more than Queens (NC), which moved from fourth to second. Wayne State (MI) is third with 166 points, and day one co-leaders Grand Valley State (MI) and Lindenwood (MO) are fourth and fifth with 161 and 153 points.
Day three of the NCAA Swimming & Diving Championships gets underway Friday morning at 10:30 a.m. with prelims, and continues with finals in five more events Friday night at 6:00.