FORT PIERCE – With double wins from junior Diego Gimenez, senior Raul Garrastazu, and freshman Matthew Holmes, and wins from three other swimmers on top of that, #9 Florida Southern ended the regular season with a 133½ - 71½ victory over Indian River State, the 41-time defending NJCAA champions.
The Moccasins nearly made it a sweep Friday by winning 10 of the 11 races held. The only win by the River came in the final race of the day when they beat the Moccasins by a scant 0.13 seconds in the 200-freestyle relay. Otherwise, the meet completely belonged to Florida Southern, which had four runner-up finishes too.
Gimenez was involved in three of Florida Southern's 10 wins by taking first place in the 50-freestyle and 200-backstroke in addition to swimming anchor on the 400-medley relay. He added to the winning margin after junior Marco Palacios, freshman Sean Kim, and senior Edson Lima had given Florida Southern the lead. In each of the two races won by Gimenez, he was followed closely by another Moccasin swimmer: Palacios in the 50-freestyle, and junior Evan Coleman in the 200-backstroke.
After the early win by the 400-medley relay team, the Moccasins got their first individual win from Garrastazu, who beat Indian River's Matt Nielsen (the defending NJCAA champion in the 500 and 1,650) by nearly 10 seconds in the 1,000-freestyle. Garrastazu then won the 200-butterly with a 0.43-second margin over Jairo Emer.
Holmes gave Florida Southern wins in the 200-freestyle and 500-freestyle, which featured runner-up finishes by a pair of Moccasins as well. In the 200, Holmes and freshman Nico Campbell had their 1-2 finish, and in the 500, it was Holmes and senior Jesus Marin, each of whom beat out Nielsen in one of his championship events. Holmes narrowly missed an NCAA "B" cut in the 200 (by 0.16 seconds), which he was swimming for the first time this year.
Campbell and Marin were among the Moccasin swimmers who had single wins throughout the day, Campbell in the 100-freestyle and Marin in the 200-IM. Campbell's win was the first of his college career. Marin now has a team-high nine individual wins this season, though his victory in the 200-IM came in his first race in that event.
Wrapping up Friday's winners was Sean Kim, who captured the 200-breaststroke.
The dual meet against Indian River State was the final one of the regular season for Florida Southern, which will now have a month to prepare for the Sunshine State Conference Championships. The championships will again be held at the Orlando YMCA from February 18-21.