Moccasins Record Fourth Straight Top-5 Finish at NCAA Division II National Swimming & Diving Championships

Moccasins Record Fourth Straight Top-5 Finish at NCAA Division II National Swimming & Diving Championships

INDIANAPOLIS – On the final day of the NCAA Division II Swimming & Diving Championships, Florida Southern had a pair of swimmers earn All-American honors in the 200-backstroke, another do so in the 1,650-freestyle, and three more pick up an honorable mention. The 400-freestyle relay team then added one more to list as the Moccasins finished fifth at the National Finals.

Junior Juan Tolosa (Guipuzcoa, Spain) was the first Moccasin on the All-American list Saturday night, placing eighth in the 1,650-freestyle in 15:30.71, while junior Raul Garrastazu (Dorado, P.R.) was 13th in 15:47.29, making him an honorable mention All-American. It gave Tolosa three All-American awards in the distance events for the third year in a row after he was third in the 1,000-freestyle on Wednesday, and third in the 500 on Friday.

The Moccasins had four swimmers competing in the prelims of the 100-freestyle Saturday morning and three of them had season-best times, but only senior Allan Gutierrez (San Pedro Sula, Honduras) reached the consolation finals. His 15th-place finish earned him a second honorable mention All-American award in the sprint events after he had finished 11th in the 50-freestyle Wednesday night.

The 200-backstroke was Florida Southern's best event Saturday night with sophomore Marco Palacios (Madrid, Spain) and senior Luis Rojas (Caracas, Venezuela) placing sixth and eighth respectively. Each of them posted a season-best time in the prelims and then went on to finish 0.79 seconds apart in the finals. It gave Rojas his fourth individual award of the National Finals, with one each night, although his performance in the 200-backstroke was his best of the meet, and it came in the last individual race of his college career.

With Palacios and Rojas doing their part, the Moccasins had moved within 12½ points of 5th-place Grand Valley State (MI), and freshman Luis Jasso (Monterrey, Mexico) pushed them into the top-five with his outing in the 200-breaststroke. He put together his best time of the year to win the consolation finals Saturday night, which gave Florida Southern enough points to overtake Grand Valley State and virtually assure the Mocs of their fourth straight top-five finish at the National Finals.

Florida Southern ended the night by taking sixth in the 400-freestyle relay where Gutierrez, Rojas, junior Jesus Marin (Cumana, Venezuela), and Palacios posted a time of 2:57.94.

Saturday night also saw Drury's (MO) 10-year reign as Division II National Champions come to an end as the Panthers finished second to Queens (NC). The Royals out-scored the Panthers by just 16 points (433½ - 417½). It was the closest 1-2 finish at the National Finals since 1983, when Cal State-Northridge finished five points ahead of Oakland with fewer events held. It was also Queens' first national title in men's swimming, with the Royals' best previous finish last year when they placed fourth.

Lindenwood (MO) was third with 359 points, followed by Wayne State (MI) with 285, and Florida Southern with 273½. The Moccasins were 9½ ahead of 6th-place Grand Valley State, and 13½ ahead of 7th-place Nova Southeastern, the next best team from the Sunshine State Conference. Tampa also made the top-10 in ninth place.