CLEARWATER, FLA. – For the second night in a row, senior Matthew Holmes turned in a gold-medal, record-setting performance in the individual medley, and Matias Lopez was right behind him for a 1-2 finish in the 400-IM. Those points, along with silver and bronze medal finishes by Nico Campbell and Luka Planinc in the 200-freestyle helped Florida Southern remain third overall at the 2019 SSC Men's Swimming Championships.
Holmes doubled up in the individual medley races for the second year in a row, and for the second year in a row set the SSC Championship record in both events. It's the second year in a row the Moccasins have won a gold and silver medal in one of them. Last year it was Holmes and Luka Matacin in the 200-IM, and this year it's Holmes and Lopez in the 400. Now with five SSC individual gold medals in his career, including three in the 400-IM, Holmes is one short of the school record held by Marco Palacios who won all of his in the backstroke events from 2015-17.
HOW IT HAPPENED:
- After three medals on Thursday, Florida Southern picked up its fourth medal of the meet by placing third in the 200-freestyle relay, manned by Talor Hamilton, Nico Campbell, Carlos Bernotti, and Brandon Dyck. That group posted an NCAA provisional qualifying time of 1:20.69 that was their best of the season. Tampa and Nova Southeastern finished in a dead heat with each team swimming the race in 1:20.48. It marked the first time a conference championship race ended in a tie, and the Moccasins were just 0.21 seconds behind them.
- Holmes then made it 2-for-2 in the individual medley by winning the 400 one night after winning the 200. Just as he did on Thursday, Holmes set a new meet record (3:49.32), though his overall conference record, set at last year's national finals, is still out there. He had to out-swim Lopez, who took second in 3:52.25, with both Moccasins hitting NCAA "B" times. The Mocs got another point from Jacob Cole in the consolation finals.
- Florida Southern pushed four swimmers into the championship or consolation finals of the 100-butterfly where Dyck was the team leader with a seventh-place finish in 48.53 seconds. That was the same time Dyck posted during the morning prelims, representing Florida Southern's first NCAA "B" time of the season in the 100-fly. Hamilton, JJ Saslo, and Miguel Bernotti all scored for the Mocs in the consolation final as well. Winning the 100-fly was Nova Southeastern's Magnus Poulsen for the second year in a row, turning in a time of 47.10 seconds.
- Though Florida Southern didn't have the 1-2 finish it had in the 400-IM, it had a better overall performance in the 200-free with a league-high five different swimmers scoring points. Campbell was the SSC silver medalist in 1:37.23, and Planinc was the bronze medalist in 1:37.58. It marked the third year in a row Campbell was either the gold or silver medalist in the 200-free, and the eighth year in a row a Moccasin claimed one of those two medals in that event. Carlos Bernotti was sixth, Charles Gotsch was 10th, and Levi Parsons was 14th, with the top 11 swimmers in the 200-free all hitting NCAA "B" times. Tampa's Cam Newton was the 200-freestyle champion in a meet-record time of 1:36.57, breaking a record previously set by Florida Southern's Jeb Halfacre in 2013.
- The Moccasins closed out the night with a third-place finish in the 400-medley relay behind Dyck, Dorian Bachlaj, Hamilton, and Holmes. Their time of 3:15.71 was a season-best and NCAA provisional qualifying time. Tampa won the relay in 3:13.95.
INSIDE THE NUMBERS:
- Even though Tampa won three of the five events held Friday night (two relays and one individual) and Nova Southeastern won just one, the Sharks widened their lead in the team standings over the Spartans to 63 points (455-392). Florida Southern also widened its margin in third place to 167 points over Saint Leo (362-195) while sitting just 30 points behind second-place Tampa. Florida Tech and Rollins are tied for fifth with 150 points.
Day three of the SSC Championships is Saturday at the Long Center with prelims at 10 a.m., and finals at 6 p.m.