CLEARWATER, FLA. – Florida Southern added two more gold medals to its league-leading total Sunday night with Luka Planinc winning the 1650-freestyle before Matthew Holmes won the 200-breaststroke to go 4-for-4 in the meet, leading the Moccasins to a third-place finish as a team.
Holmes became just the second men's swimmer in league history to win four individual events at the championship meet, joining Franco Lupoli, who did it for Nova Southeastern in 2017. Holmes won the 200-IM on Thursday, the 400-IM on Friday, the 100-breast on Saturday, and the 200-breast on Sunday. That also gave him seven SSC gold medals in his career, a new Florida Southern record and tying the most for any men's swimmer from any school. The only other men's swimmer to win seven career gold medals is Saint Leo's Matheus Assis from 2013-15 (three in the 50-free, two in the 100-free, and two in the 100-fly).
HOW IT HAPPENED:
- Planinc gave the Moccasins their first SSC champion in the 1,650-freestyle in five years by out-racing Nova Southeastern's Bernardo Abascal by 3.47 seconds. It was the second closest 1650 final since the SSC began holding its championships in 2011. That gave the senior three medals in the 1650 during his career following third-place finishes as a sophomore and junior. The last Moccasin to win the 1650 had been Juan Tolosa in 2014. The Moccasins also had Cole Smith finish seventh, Daniel Rodriguez eighth, and Charles Gotsch, all with NCAA "B" times.
- Nico Campbell was Florida Southern's top swimmer in the 100-freestyle by finishing fourth in a season's-best NCAA "B" time of 44.57 seconds, with Carlos Bernotti 16th. Alec Dawson of Nova Southeastern won the 100-free in 44.36 seconds, just 0.07 seconds ahead of 200-freestyle champion Cam Newton of Tampa.
- The 200-backstroke title went to Tampa's Luke Hene, who was 0.74 seconds ahead of Matias Lopez. It was the third individual medal of the meet for Lopez, who had earlier picked up a silver in the 400-IM and bronze in the 200-IM. He improved his NCAA "B" time by nearly one second in the meet, however, and Brandon Dyck was fourth with another "B" time of 1:47.12.
- In the final individual event of the meet, Holmes picked up his fourth gold medal by winning the 200-breast in 1:58.53. That put him 1.49 seconds ahead of Saint Leo's Henrik Dahrendorff and gave the Mocs an NCAA provisional qualifying time in that event for the first time this season. It wasn't their last however, as Dorian Bachlaj finished third in 2:00.62. Andrew Brown was 11th and Bryce Johnson was 13th after reaching the consolation final.
- Florida Southern's final medal of the meet came in the 400-freestyle relay where the Moccasins were second to Tampa by a scant 0.08 seconds. The team of Campbell, Carlos Bernotti, Planinc, and Holmes had a time of 2:58.15, giving the Mocs their first provisional qualifying time in the 400-freestyle relay this season. Campbell's time of 44.33 seconds on the leadoff leg was nearly an NCAA "A" time for the 100-free too.
INSIDE THE NUMBERS:
- Nova Southeastern won its third straight SSC Men's Swimming Championship with 852½ points, and Tampa was runner-up with 819. Florida Southern finished third with 761 points followed by Saint Leo (423½), Florida Tech (319), and Rollins (285).
- Even though the Moccasins were third in the standings, they were number one in total medals with 20 (seven gold, six silver, and seven bronze). It was the sixth time in the last seven years Florida Southern led the final medal count.T ampa was second with 16, and SSC champion Nova Southeastern was third with 15. The Moccasins and Spartans each won seven gold medals and the Sharks had six after one event ended in a tie.
- Holmes led the Moccasins and the meet with 80 points, the highest possible total for an individual. Planinc tied Tampa's Luke Hene for second with 70 points, and Lopez had 65.
Florida Southern will now await word on its selections for the NCAA Division II National Championships, which will be announced this Wednesday night, February 27.