INDIANAPOLIS – Three top-five finishes on day three of the NCAA Swimming & Diving Championships, one of them a third-place showing from Juan Tolosa, and another coming with a school record from Raul Garrastazu, helped Florida Southern step up to sixth place in the team standings with one day remaining.
The Moccasins were in seventh place when the day began, but they made their move right away Friday night when Tolosa finished third in the 500-freestyle. His time of 4:24.32 was just 0.43 seconds off the school record he had set earlier this season at the Nova Southeastern Shark Invitational. He was 3.34 seconds behind the winner, Nick Arakelian of Queens (NC) and claimed an All-American award in the 500-freestyle for the third year in a row. It was his second All-American finish of the meet.
Florida Southern had four swimmers in the prelims of the 100-backstroke, and got sophomore Diego Gimenez and senior Luis Rojas into the consolation finals Friday night, though second-seeded Marco Palacios did not make it. Both of them had their best times of the season, and Gimenez did that again Friday night in 48.44 seconds. They gave the Moccasins another 6½ points and kept them within striking distance of 5th-place Grand Valley State.
With no Moccasin reaching the finals or consolation finals of the 100-breaststroke, Florida Southern had to wait until the 200-butterfly to score more points, and Garrastazu came through by finishing fifth. He turned in a time of 1:46.47 to break the school record he set just last month at the Sunshine State Conference Championships in Orlando. Garrastazu's time was just 0.02 seconds ahead of that.
Florida Southern wasn't finished either, as the 800-freestyle relay team of junior Jesus Marin, Rojas, Tolosa, and redshirt sophomore Alec Wathen finished fifth in the last race of the night. Their time of 6:32.07 was the Mocs' best of the season, and featured a 1:36.54 from Marin on the leadoff leg. That was less than a quarter second away from the school record in the 200-freestyle he set one night earlier.
Those points gave Florida Southern a total of 196½ in the meet, which put the Moccasins 25½ ahead of 7th-place Nova Southeastern and kept them as the top team from the Sunshine State Conference. The Mocs are only 26½ behind 5th-place Wayne State (MI).
At the top of the standings, Queens (NC) moved ahead of 10-time defending champion Drury, and goes into the final day with a 14-point lead over the Panthers. Lindenwood (MO) is third, and trails Queens by 46½, and Grand Valley State (MI) is fourth, trailing Queens by 86½.
The final day of the National Finals and final five events are Saturday.