MELBOURNE, FLA. – Malin Wallen gave Florida Southern its first win of the meet by taking the 400-individual medley in a near-school record time, and two other Moccasins also had NCAA provisional qualifying times later in the night, highlighting day two of the Panther Invitational.
Saturday night's results kept Florida Southern third in the five-team meet with 449½ points, trailing West Florida (727½) and Division I North Florida (599). Host school Florida Tech is fourth with 383 points, and Rollins is fifth with 238.
HOW IT HAPPENED:
- For the second night in a row, Florida Southern opened the finals session with a runner-up finish from one of its relay teams. On Saturday, it was the 200-medley team of Maria Di Bella, Haley DeGrace, Rebeka Dics, and Krystal Karas in 1:46.06, the best of the season for the Moccasins. They were 2.83 seconds behind the winning side from West Florida, and edged out North Florida's top team by 0.64 seconds.
- Wallen gave Florida Southern its first win of the meet when she took the 400-IM in 4:25.78, blowing away her previous season-high coming into the meet, and surpassing the NCAA provisional qualifying mark by almost five seconds. Wallen was 2.07 seconds ahead of second-place Savannah Brennan of Florida Tech, and 4.71 seconds ahead of third-place Sydney Sheppard of North Florida. Kyra Fraser and Kris Davis reached the consolation final for the Mocs to give Florida Southern more points in the 400-IM.
- Florida Southern's top swimmer in the 100-butterfly was Dics, who placed eighth in 1:00.97 after posting a time of 57.93 seconds in prelims, the best time for a Moccasin this year. Winning the 100-fly was Tabitha Read-Clayton in 57.07 seconds. The Mocs also got Kimmy Chang, Rachel Ringley, and Mallary Meyer into the consolation finals.
- In the 200-freestyle, the Moccasins received a fourth-place finish from Karas, as she moved into the top times position on the Florida Southern list this season and hit an NCAA "B" time in the process at 1:53.24. That race was won by Ester Rizzetto of West Florida in 1:50.54. Meanwhile, Grace Sill, Erin McCann, Allison Greenwood, and Madelyn Snodgrass all earned spots in the consolation finals of the 200-free.
- DeGrace posted a runner-up finish for Florida Southern in the 100-breast and became the third Moccasin to achieve an NCAA provisional qualifying time Saturday night, swimming that race in 1:04.10. She finished 1.15 seconds behind Morgan Ayers of West Florida. Wallen and Davis were in the consolation finals of the 100-breast.
- Fraser and Di Bella finished back-to-back in the 100-back in seventh and eighth respectively, though Meyer had their best time Saturday night by winning the consolation final in 59.17 seconds. Meyer was joined in that race by Amanda Giannattasio and Sill.
- The night ended with a fourth-place finish by the Moccasins' A team in the 800-freestyle relay where Wallen, Karas, McCann, and Sill combined for a time of 7:43.88.
INSIDE THE NUMBERS:
- Wallen missed a school record in the 400-IM by 0.13 seconds. That record was set two years ago by Jacinda Whittenburg. Wallen and the Moccasins were competing in the 400-IM for only the second time this season.
- Wallen nearly had another NCAA "B" time Saturday night on the first leg of the 800-freestyle relay, falling 0.07 seconds short on the 200-yard distance.
Florida Southern wraps up the Panther Invitational on Sunday with prelims at 10 a.m. and finals at 4:30 p.m.