CLEARWATER, FL – For the third day in a row, Katie Moore snagged an individual medal in a freestyle event, and by the end of the night she'd added one more as a relay swimmer. Moore's second-place finish in the 500-freestyle and bronze medals by Haley DeGrace and the 800-freestyle relay team were the big moments for Florida Southern on day three of the Sunshine State Conference Women's Swimming Championships as the Moccasins remain third.
HOW IT HAPPENED:
- Moore had previously earned bronze medals in the 1,000-freestyle on Thursday and the 200-free on Friday, but moved up on spot with a silver in the 500-free Saturday night. The junior transfer from North Texas posted a time of 4:51.50 that was not only her best of the season and the best for the Moccasins, it was only two one-hundredths of a second shy of an NCAA automatic qualifying time. It goes down as the fourth best all-time at the conference championship, with the new record set by this year's winner, Emma Sundstedt. Her time of 4:48.11 was an NCAA automatic qualifying time and new meet record. The only other times better than what Moore posted in the 500 were by former record holder Erin Black of Nova in 2012, and former Moccasin Alli Crenshaw in 2013. Peyton Breault finished sixth in this year's 500-free in 5:01.47, another NCAA "B" time.
- Maria Di Bella placed fifth in the 100-backstroke and gave the Moccasins an NCAA "B" time at 56.95 seconds, hitting that standard right on the head. They actually got a better time from Mallary Meyer in the B final Saturday night, which Meyer won in 56.59 seconds. That was the first provisional qualifying time posted by a Moccasin swimmer this year in the 100-backstroke. Lanier Whitton came in right behind her for 10th overall, and Kyra Fraser was 12th. Nova Southeastern's Jenna Johns won the 100-back in 54.88 seconds.
- For the third year in a row, DeGrace earned a medal in the 100-breaststroke, placing third in 1:03.27 to improve on her NCAA "B" time from earlier this year. Jacinda Whittenburg won the B final in 1:05.24, posting her best time of the season. Malin Westman of Nova Southeastern was the SSC champion for the second year in a row, swimming a time of 1:02.26.
- Madelyn Snodgrass was the only Moccasin to advance beyond the prelims in the 200-butterfly and placed 16th overall in a time of 2:13.27. Courtney DeVeny of Nova was the champion in 1:59.80, breaking her own meet and conference records in winning that title for the third time in the last four years.
- Moore helped the Florida Southern 800-freestyle relay team win the bronze medal in a time of 7:27.26, barely over one second away from a school record. It was, however, an NCAA provisional qualifying time, with Katja Hajdinjak on the leadoff leg, Breault second, Moore third and Krystal Karas on the anchor. Nova Southeastern made it a clean sweep of gold medals on Saturday with a conference and meet record time of 7:22.14.
INSIDE THE NUMBERS:
- Moore is the second Moccasin swimmer to pick up medals in the 200-free, 500-free, and 1,000-free at the same SSC Championship meet. Crenshaw did that two years ago by winning the 1,000 and 500, and finishing third in the 200. Sundstedt won all three of those events for Nova Southeastern this year.
- Tampa (five) and Florida Southern (four) combined for more than half the swimmers that reached the A and B finals of the 100-backstroke and took nine of the top 12 places.
- DeGrace is the first Moccasin with three medals in the 100-breast adding to her bronze as a freshman and silver as a sophomore.
- Florida Southern had had a gold, silver or bronze in the 800-freestyle every year of the championship meet.
- The Moccasins have two silvers and a bronze in the four relay events held so far.
- Allison Hunter had season-best times in the 100-back and 200-fly during prelims but missed reaching the B finals by one spot in both those events.
- Rebeka Dics hit an NCAA "B" time in the 50-freestyle during a time trial Saturday morning.
- The standings at the end of day three still have Nova Southeastern first with 742½ points, Tampa second with 588½, and Florida Southern third with 430. Completing the standings are Saint Leo (261), Lynn (233), Rollins (203), and Florida Tech (184).
The Sunshine State Conference Championships conclude Sunday with prelims at 10 a.m. and finals at 5 p.m. in the last five events.