LAKELAND, FLA. – The Florida Southern College women's and men's swimming programs are about to embark on a new campaign. The 2019-20 season kicks off this weekend at the Shark Invitational, hosted by Nova Southeastern University, in Fort Lauderdale, Fla.
For the women, a small core of returners will be counted on to lead a very young team. Of the 19 members of this year's squad, seven are freshmen, with three sophomores.
The inner core of experienced swimmers begins with senior Malin Wallen, who was an NCAA qualifier in the 400-IM and 100-free last year. Joining her are classmates Mallary Meyer and Kyra Fraser, who both earned All-America status last year in the 800-free relay. Senior Allison Greenwood is another All-American who returns for the Mocs, after being Honorable Mention two seasons ago.
Junior Maria Di Bella had a good year last year in the freestyle and backstroke events, and is looking to continue building on that success. Classmate Lanier Whitton returns after red shirting last year. In 2017-18, she was a conference finalist in the 200-back.
Sandra Miclaus is looking forward to a strong freshman season. After originally committing to Oregon State, will compete in the backstroke and butterfly events. Classmate Tianna Kosek has the potential to score points for the Mocs, and will join the team once the water ski season ends.
With the men's program, the expectations are a little higher. A host of veterans return, with several All-NCAA medalists and All-Americans returning for the Mocs. Leading the way is junior Matias Lopez, who was on the silver medal winning 800-free relay squad at last year's NCAA Championships. An All-American in the 200-back last season as well, he will look to challenge for a national championship. During the summer, he gained valuable experience at the World University and Pan Am Games, and has high hopes this season.
Senior captain Talor Hamilton competed at the NCAA Championships last season in the 200- and 400-free relays, earning All-American laurels in both, and will look to return this year. In addition to his role in individual events he will be a key member of relays at the conference and NCAA championships.
Junior Brandon Dyck earned All-America status in the 200-free relay, 400-medley relay, and the 200-back, where he placed eighth at the NCAA's. Miguel Bernotti qualified for the 100-fly and was an Honorable Mention All-American in the 200-fly and the 400-medley relay, while sibling Carlos Bernotti earned All-America in the 200-free relay. All three swimmers are expecting to return to the NCAA Championships, with higher results this spring.
Sophomore JJ Saslo is expecting to have a breakout season, and will score needed points throughout the season, while classmate Cole Smith looks to build on a successful freshman year that saw him earn 2nd Team All-Conference honors.
The Mocs have an extensive regular season slate, including five home meets. Three of those home events are early in the season, on October 18, 19, and 25. The final two dates are back-to-back in January, on the 10th and 11th.