MELBOURNE – Florida Southern used a dominating performance in the 500-freestyle, led by winner Luka Planinc, and a win by Matias Lopez in the 200-IM to finish day one of the Panther Invitational in first place among the three teams competing.
Host Florida Tech won both of the relay events held and the 50-freestyle, but the Moccasins controlled the 500-free and 200-IM so thoroughly, they still held a seven-point lead over the Panthers at the end of the night, 128-121. Rollins was a distant third with 33 points.
HOW IT HAPPENED
- The Moccasins began Friday night's finals session with a second-place finish from their top 200-freestyle relay team of Nico Campbell, Brandon Dyck, JJ Saslo, and Talor Hamilton. Their collective time of 1:23.99 was the Mocs' best of the season. Florida Tech won the race in 1:21.04.
- Florida Southern's domination of the 500-free had Planinc winning, Cole Smith as the runner-up, and Daniel Rodriguez finishing fourth. The Mocs also had Jonathan Sawyer and Holt Ragsdale in the final. On top of that, Charles Gotsch, Matt Agostinelli, Ethan Shaw, and Levi Parsons claimed the first four positions in the consolation final. Planinc had a winning time of 4:35.75, which was less than one second away from an NCAA "B" time. He was 3.63 seconds ahead of Smith, and 3.91 ahead of third-place Harry Sale from Florida Tech, who had the early lead.
- In the 200-IM, Lopez topped Florida Tech's Jose Coiman-Acosta by 1.39 seconds for the win, posting a time of 1:53.26. Alex Norcini of Rollins was third, just ahead of four straight Moccasin swimmers that came in one right after the other. That run started with Dorian Bachlaj, and included Calvin Giang, Jacob Cole, and Miguel Bernotti. By that point, the Mocs had also earned the first three positions in the consolation final behind Jacob Tuckerman, Andrew Brown, and Theo Peristeridis, and Pedro Bernotti was fifth in that race. That gave Florida Southern nine of the top 14 swimmers in the 200-IM.
- Florida Tech's Victor Rocha Furtado won the 50-freestyle in 19.75 seconds, finishing seven-tenths of a second ahead of his teammate, Emanuele Rossi. Campbell was third for Florida Southern in 20.77 seconds, another near-miss in relation to an NCAA provisional qualifying time. Hamilton was fifth for the Moccasins and Dyck was eighth. The Mocs also put Ethan Oliva, Carlos Bernotti, and Saslo into the consolation final.
- The Moccasins' 400-medley relay team of Dyck, Brown, Miguel Bernotti, and Campbell put together a time of 3:22.41 to finish second to Florida Tech in the final race of the night, and improve their season-best time by almost three seconds. The Mocs' B team of Lopez, Bachlaj, Hamilton, and Matthew Holmes was third, finishing 3.57 seconds behind the A team. The Panthers won the race in 3:16.52.
INSIDE THE NUMBERS
- Campbell nearly had an NCAA "B" time in the 50-freestyle on the first leg of the 200-free relay. He swam that distance in 20.80 seconds, which was 0.05 off the provisional standard and topped his previous season-best by 0.85 seconds. He then went lower in the 50-freestyle event later in the night, and got within 0.02 second of the NCAA "B" time.
- In winning the consolation final of the 500-free, Gotsch had a faster time than all but Planinc in the championship race. He was competing in the 500 for the first time this season.
Day two of the Panther Invitational begins with prelims Saturday morning at 10 a.m., and finals in seven events Saturday evening at 6 p.m.