200-Freestyle Relay Team Gives Florida Southern First Medal of 2017 Men’s National Finals as Mocs Remain Fifth

Nico Campbell, Noah Franz, Marco Palacios & Diego Gimenez
Nico Campbell, Noah Franz, Marco Palacios & Diego Gimenez

BIRMINGHAM, AL – Florida Southern began the second day of the NCAA Division II Men's Swimming and Diving Championships in fifth place but still looking for its first medal of the meet. It didn't take long on Thursday night to fix that. While setting a school record in the process, the Moccasins' 200-freestyle relay team finished third for a bronze medal, and by the end of the night another record had been broken by sophomore Matthew Holmes in the 400-IM as Florida Southern remained fifth overall.

HOW IT HAPPENED:

  • During Thursday's prelims, the 200-freestyle relay team of seniors Diego Gimenez and Marco Palacios, junior Noah Franz, and sophomore Nico Campbell placed third with their best time of the season, but not quite a school record. For the evening finals, head coach Mike Blum switched the order, moving Franz to the leadoff role, followed by Campbell, Gimenez and Palacios. Though the Moccasins still finished third behind Florida Tech and Bloomsburg, they improved their time and set the new Florida Southern standard at 1:19.77. That broke the previous mark by 0.05 seconds that was set at the National Finals two years ago by Allan Gutierrez, Edson Lima, Palacios and Raul Garrastazu. Florida Tech won the gold medal Thursday night in 1:19.46, and the Moccasins were 0.12 seconds behind second-place Bloomsburg (PA). The 32 points scored by the Mocs in that event were enough to move them ahead of Nova Southeastern in the overall team standings and into fourth place.
  • For the second night in a row sophomore Matthew Holmes and senior Antonio Nunez-Alvarez scored points in an individual medley race, this time in the 400. Both swimmers advanced to the consolation finals where Holmes finished third (11th overall) and Nunez-Alvarez was seventh (15th overall). Holmes' time of 3:51.67 broke his own school record which he had set earlier this year at the Tampa Spartan Invitational after both he and Nunez-Alvarez nearly broke it during Thursday's prelims. They each missed spots in the championship finals by roughly half a second. Nicholas Arakelian of Queens (NC) won the gold medal in a time of 3:45.01.
  • Though Palacios and fellow senior Evan Coleman both earned spots in the prelims of the 100-butterfly, the Moccasins were unable to pick up any points in that event and slipped back behind Nova Southeastern by eight points.
  • The Moccasins quickly caught the Sharks again after Campbell and junior Luka Matacin reached the consolation finals of the 200-freestyle, and both finished ahead of the Sharks' only qualifier, Franco Lupoli. Campbell finished third in that race (11th overall) in 1:38.39, and Matacin was right behind him in 1:38.64. Their 11 combined points were eight more than Lupoli gave the Sharks, leaving the two Sunshine State Conference rivals tied for fourth place in the team standings, 18 behind third-place Grand Valley State, with Wingate (NC) only one point behind Florida Southern and Nova Southeastern in sixth place.
  • The night ended with the 400-medley relay where Florida Southern finished seventh in a time of 3:13.82 behind Palacios, junior Luis Jasso, Gimenez and Franz. Queens (NC) won the race in a meet-record time of 3:07.38, and Nova Southeastern was second in 3:11.81.

INSIDE THE NUMBERS:

  • Queens (NC) opened up a 109-point lead over Drury (MO) at the end of the night, 296-187, at the top of the team standings. Grand Valley State (MI) was third with 149 points, Nova Southeastern was fourth with 137, and Florida Southern was fifth with 127. The Moccasins were 16 points ahead of sixth-place Lindenwood (MO).

UP NEXT: Day three of the National Finals begins with prelims at 11:30 a.m. Eastern Time, and the finals in five events get underway at 7 p.m. EST.