GREENSBORO, NC – For the second night in a row, senior Luis Jasso claimed an individual medal in a breaststroke race, and along with a seventh-place finish from backstroke swimmer Matias Lopez, and a fifth-place finish from the 400-freestyle relay team, Florida Southern used that to secure its seventh consecutive national top-five finish. The strong showing on Saturday allowed the Moccasins to place fourth overall at the 2018 NCAA Division II National Men's Swimming & Diving Championships.
HOW IT HAPPENED:
- The final heat of the 1,650-freestyle opened Saturday night's session, but junior Luka Planinc had been in an earlier heat with a time of 15:51.48. Once the last heat was complete, he was a little over six seconds shy of one of the 16 point positions.
- The Moccasins had two swimmers competing in the 100-freestyle, but junior Matthew Holmes and senior Noah Franz just missed advancing to the B final with times of 44.44 and 44.54 seconds respectively. The 16th position had a time of 44.39 seconds, and Holmes was next in line.
- In the 200-backstroke, the Moccasins got Lopez into the A final and freshman Brandon Dyck into the B final. Lopez placed seventh in 1:45.92, and Dyck won the B final in 1:45.36. Those results briefly moved Florida Southern into third place by one point over Cal Baptist and two over Drury, but still 33 behind second-place Indianapolis.
- The top two swimmers in the 200-breast were Eric Tolman from Cal Baptist and Jasso from Florida Southern. Tolman came in just 0.58 seconds ahead of Jasso, though Jasso's time of 1:54.84 broke his own school record set during the 2017 conference championships. It also gave him his second individual medal of the meet after earning a bronze one night earlier in the 100-breast. He was the only swimmer in the meet to medal in both breaststroke events.
- The breaststroke result put Cal Baptist back in front of Florida Southern by two points and the Lancers picked up 22 more points in the final diving event where the Moccasins had no one competing. That meant barring a disqualification in the 400-freestyle relay, Cal Baptist would be able to hold on to at least third place overall. The Moccasins ended up fifth in that final race, and the Lancers were third, but the Mocs were able to expand on what had been a one-point lead over Drury and 18-point lead over Oklahoma Baptist. Swimming a time of 2:57.13, the quartet of Holmes, Nico Campbell, Luka Matacin, and Franz took fifth in the 400-freestyle relay to secure fourth overall in the team standings.
INSIDE THE NUMBERS:
- Queens (NC) won the Division II national championship for the fourth year in a row, and Cal Baptist had its first national runner-up finish. The Royals out-scored the Lancers 558-307. Indianapolis fell to third with 300 points, Florida Southern was fourth with 279, and Oklahoma Baptist was fifth with 251, one more than Drury. Saint Leo also made the top-10 from the Sunshine State Conference with 152 points, which was good for 10th.
- For the eighth consecutive year, all five Florida Southern relay teams earned either first team or honorable mention All-American status. Campbell and Franz were part of four of those teams this year, while Matacin and Holmes were part of three. The Moccasins' seven medals (Holmes' gold in the 400-IM and bronze in the 200-IM; Jasso's silver in the 200-breast and bronze in the 100-breast; silver for the 400-medley and 800-freestyle relay teams; and bronze for the 200-freestyle relay team) were their most since picking up nine in 2013.
- Florida Southern is the only men's swimming team in the country to finish in the top-five each of the last seven years, and the Moccasins have been no worse than eighth in any year since 2011.
- Florida Southern has finished in the top-20 seven of the last eight years.
- Saturday's individual winners were Tim Samuelson from Missouri S&T in the 1,650-freestyle (his second distance gold medal of the meet); Marius Kusch from Queens in the 100-free with a new Division II record time of 42.42 seconds (his fourth individual win, and seventh overall win this week including relays); Paul Pijulet of Queens in the 200-back (his third individual win and sixth total win); and Eric Tolman from Cal Baptist in the 200-breast.
- The top swimmers from the SSC on Saturday were Franco Lupoli from Nova Southeastern as runner-up in the 1,650-freestyle; Victor Rocha Furtado from Florida Tech as runner-up in the 100-free; Lopez's seventh place finish from Florida Southern in the 200-back; and Jasso's silver medal finish for Florida Southern in the 200-breast. Florida Tech also had a fourth-place finish in the 400-freestyle relay, 0.41 seconds ahead of the Moccasins.