CLEARWATER, FL – Florida Southern's 200-medley relay team of Maria Di Bella, Haley DeGrace, Katja Hajdinjak, and Allison Greenwood set a new school record in the Moccasins' best finish of the night, while Katie Moore and Jacinda Whittenburg picked up individual medals on the first day of the 2018 Sunshine State Conference Women's Swimming Championships.
HOW IT HAPPENED:
- Moore gave Florida Southern its first medal of the 2018 championships when she finished third in the 1,000-freestyle, swimming the race in 10:10.67. That was easily her best time of the season and the Mocs' first NCAA provisional time in the 1,000 this year. Allie Kaufmann was 16th to give the Mocs an additional point in the standings. The top two swimmers were both from Nova Southeastern, with Emma Sundstedt turning in a meet-record of 9:49.65. Madison Yelle, the defending champion, came in second at 10:10.67, just one-tenth of a second ahead of Moore.
- Whittenburg made it two medals in as many events for Florida Southern when she placed third in the 200-IM. She gave the Mocs their first NCAA provisional time this year in that event too, swimming the race in a season-best 2:04.11. Rebeka Dics was seventh in 2:07.03, and DeGrace won the B final in 2:06.66, which equaled Dics' time in the prelims. Nova's Courtney DeVeny successfully defended her title by winning in 2:00.22, which set another meet record.
- The Moccasins' top swimmer in the 50-freestyle was Krystal Karas in 23.48 seconds, which was good for seventh. Hajdinjak had a nearly identical time of 23.49 to finish 10th, moving both of them into the top two spots on the Florida Southern times list this season. Peyton Breault was 11th in 23.67 seconds, Greenwood was 14th in 23.78, and Mallary Meyer was 16th in 24.26. Breault added her name to the list of eligible swimmers to advance to nationals in the 50-free, while Karas, Hajdinjak, and Greenwood all improved their standing in either the finals or prelims. Nova Southeastern won another gold medal as Nova's Sydney Panzarino had a winning time of 23.07 seconds, while Saint Leo swimmers took second and third.
- The Moccasins nearly had their first gold medal of the meet in the 200-medley relay, and ultimately finished second to Nova Southeastern by 1.56 seconds. Their time of 1:41.87 put together by Di Bella, DeGrace, Hajdinjak, and Greenwood broke the previous school record set by Mary O'Sullivan, Rae-Lynn Sheffield, Taylor Reynolds, and Cara Potter at the 2011 national championships by 1.52 seconds. It also would have been a new championship meet record if not for Nova's winning time of 1:40.31. The Mocs edged out Tampa and Saint Leo for second in a race where the top four positions were separated by 2.27 seconds. It also improved their chances of competing in that event at the national finals, improving on an earlier NCAA provisional time.
INSIDE THE NUMBERS:
- Moore's time in the 1,000-free was the third-fastest ever posted by a Moccasin at the SSC Championships. Only Alli Crenshaw had better times in 2015 and 2016.
- Yelle was the first swimmer to break the 10-minute mark in the 1,000 at the SSC Championships, breaking the previous record of Tampa's Britt Bayes by more than 15 seconds. Bayes finished fourth this year. The Sharks and Spartans had seven of the top nine, and 10 of the top 13 swimmers in the 1,000.
- Whittenburg's time in the 200-IM was more than 10 seconds faster than she swam at the 2017 SSC Championships, and was the best any Moccasin has ever had at the meet. It was one one-hundredth of a second ahead of Rae-Lynn Sheffield's time when she won the 2011 SSC title in the 200-IM.
- Florida Southern and Tampa each accounted for five of the 16 finalists in the 50-free.
- The Mocs second-place finish to Nova in the 200-medley relay was a closer margin than the Mocs had in both 2015 and 2016 when they also finished second to the Sharks. The Mocs were fourth last year and knocked three seconds off that time in climbing two spots in the field.
- Florida Southern is in third place in the team standings with 131 points, trailing Nova Southeastern (220½) and Tampa (173½). Saint Leo is fourth with 80 points, Lynn is fifth with 62 points, and Rollins and Florida Tech are tied for sixth with 42.
Day two of the SSC Championships begins Friday morning with prelims at 10 a.m. and concludes with finals in five events Friday night at 6 p.m.