LAKELAND – For the first time in their 13-year history, the Florida Southern women's swimming team has a tie on its record. The Moccasins won seven events Friday in their season-opening meet with Tampa, the Spartans won seven events, and at the end of the day they had battled to a 131-131 draw.
Six of Florida Southern's wins came in the individual races in addition to one relay win, while Tampa won six individual events and one relay too. The big winners for Florida Southern were sophomores Jacinda Whittenburg and Peyton Breault. Whittenburg was first in the 200-breaststroke and 200-IM, and Breault won the 100-backstroke and 200-backstroke. They were the first individual wins in the careers of both Moccasin swimmers.
Also picking up solo victories on Friday were senior Kelsey Gouge and freshman Rebekah Dics. They picked up theirs in the 100-breaststroke and 200-freestyle respectively and also helped power the 200-medley relay team to victory.
It was that relay race that started the meet, with senior Lauren Reynolds (backstroke), Gouge (breaststroke), junior Kourtney Gavin (butterfly) and Dics giving Florida Southern its initial points. Their time of 1:50.23 put them 0.71 seconds ahead of Tampa's top 200-medley team.
The Spartans got their first win in the 1,000-freestye where Makayla Ayers edged out Alli Crenshaw by a little over two seconds, and Florida Southern's Heather Burns right a little over two seconds behind Crenshaw.
Dics then started a run of three straight wins for the Moccasins by taking the 200-freestyle in her first career individual event, as she finished less than half a second ahead of Tampa's Britt Bayes. The streak continued with Breault in the 100-backstroke and Gouge and in the 100-breaststroke.
The 100-breaststroke proved to be the best race of the day. Though Gouge earned the 48th individual win of her career (10th in the 100-breast), she was pushed hard by freshman Haley DeGrace and Whittenburg. DeGrace came in second, just 0.05 seconds behind her, and Whittenburg was third, trailing Gouge by 0.67 seconds. For good measure, the Moccasins also took fourth in that race with Morgan Burns, though it did not give Florida Southern any additional points.
The Moccasins would later have another 1-2-3 finish in the 200-breaststroke, as Whittenburg won that one, followed by Morgan Burns and DeGrace. That same trio then did it again in the 200-IM, with the same order of finish.
The Spartans fought back though and got three straight wins during one stretch, two of them from sprinter Marissa Barton, and eventually pulled even with the Mocs after winning the 400-freestyle relay at the end of the meet. Barton swam the leadoff leg of that race for Tampa, which also saw its "B" team finish second.
Florida Southern's next meet will be next Friday, October 23 at Florida Tech. Scheduled start time is 3 p.m.