CLEARWATER, FLA. – Matthew Holmes won his third gold medal of the 2019 SSC Men's Swimming Championships, and Brandon Dyck joined him as an individual champion on Saturday. The Moccasins weren't quite finished though as their 800-freestyle relay team set a new meet record in giving them another gold medal in the final race of the night.
Florida Southern reeled in a total of six medals Saturday, with Luka Planinc and Cole Smith collecting a silver and bronze in the 500-free, and Miguel Bernotti added a bronze in the 200-fly while also setting a school record in that event. Holmes earned his gold in the 100-breast, and Dyck had his in the 100-back. Planinc and Holmes were also part of the winning relay team that included Nico Campbell and Charles Gotsch.
HOW IT HAPPENED:
- Florida Southern got off to an outstanding start Saturday when Planinc, Smith, and Gotsch finished second, third, and fourth respectively in the 500-freestyle, all with NCAA "B" times. Nova Southeastern's Vincent Lijoi won the race in 4:26.12, with Planinc second in 4:26.30. Smith was a little over four second behind Planinc, with Gotsch just one second behind Smith. Levi Parsons also scored for the Mocs by finishing 15th.
- Dyck won the 100-backstroke in an NCAA "B" time of 47.94 seconds, beating Florida Tech's Emanuele Rossi by six-tenths of a second. It's the second year in a row Dyck has won the 100-back at the SSC Championships, and the eighth time in nine years a Moccasin has won that title. Matias Lopez came in fourth, also with an NCAA "B" time of 49.22 seconds. Talor Hamilton gave the Moccasins more points with a 10th-place finish.
- Holmes made it two wins in a row for Florida Southern, and three wins for himself in the meet by capturing the 100-breaststroke in 54.60 seconds, improving his own NCAA "B" time in the process. He edged out Nova's Cory Klemm by 0.07 seconds, and Saint Leo's Henrik Dahrendorff by 0.09. Added to his wins in the 200-IM and 400-IM, Holmes now has six SSC men's swimming individual gold medals in his career, tying him with Marco Palacios for the most in school history. The Moccasins also got a seventh-place finish from Dorian Bachlaj, a 10th-place finish from Andrew Brown, and a 13th-place finish from Bryce Johnson.
- Miguel Bernotti posted an NCAA "B" time of 1:46.33 to finish third in the 200-fly and break the previous school record of 1:46.47, set by Raul Garrastazu at the 2015 national finals. Tampa's Brian Valedon set a new SSC meet record by winning the 200-fly in 1:45.56 to beat defending champ Magnus Poulsen of Nova Southeastern by 0.52 seconds.
- Florida Southern collected its third gold medal of the night when Campbell, Planinc, Gotsch, and Holmes broke the SSC Championship record in the 800-freestyle relay. The four seniors put together a mark of 6:30.02, which almost one second faster than Nova's previous record from the 2017 championships. The Moccasins beat this year's Nova team by more than five seconds. Holmes and Planinc were also part of last year's SSC champion 800-freestyle relay team.
INSIDE THE NUMBERS:
- Nova Southeastern still holds the lead in the team standings going into the final day, out-scoring Tampa 668-590. Florida Southern is third with 571 points, trimming the deficit behind the Spartans for second place from 30 to 19. Saint Leo is fourth with 308 points followed by Florida Tech (232) and Rollins (213).
The SSC Championships conclude Sunday at the Long Center with prelims at 10 a.m. and finals at 5 p.m.