LAKELAND, FL – Victories by Noah Franz in the 50-free and 100-free in the middle of the meet were part of eight straight wins by the Moccasins, and two later wins by Matias Lopez salted it away as 13th-ranked Florida Southern defeated 10th-ranked Saint Leo 168-96 in the final home meet of the season.
HOW IT HAPPENED:
- Saint Leo took the early lead by winning the 200-medley relay, even though the two Moccasin teams in that event were second and third. The Lions winning margin was just seven one-hundredths of a second. Another close race followed that one as the Lions' Matija Rafaj won the 1,000-freestyle by 1.11 seconds over Matthew Holmes, as Rafaj hit the NCAA "B" standard in that event and Holmes missed by a little over half a second. The Mocs nearly out-scored the Lions in the 1,000-free with Jonathan Sawyer, Charles Gotsch and Levi Parsons following Holmes in the third through fifth positions.
- The Moccasins tied the overall score when Nico Campbell won the 200-free in 1:41.52, finishing 0.58 seconds ahead of Saint Leo's Luka Vulic. Luka Planinc was third for Florida Southern and Carlos Bernotti was fifth, giving the Mocs enough points in the 200-free to tie the meet score at 28-28.
- The Mocs truly asserted themselves, however, in the next four events before the first break, out-scoring the Lions 14-5 in all of them while picking up wins from Brandon Dyck in the 100-back, Sean Kim in the 100-breast, Miguel Bernotti in the 200-fly, and Franz in the 50-free. All of them were on the fringe of NCAA "B" times too.
- Dyck won the 100-back by 0.35 seconds over Saint Leo's Milos Mikicin, with Lopez third and Talor Hamilton fourth.
- Kim won the 100-breast by 0.44 seconds over teammate Luis Jasso, though later in the meet Jasso would top Kim in the 200-breast by a similar margin.
- Miguel Bernotti, who was swimming in only his third meet since joining the team, picked up his second win in three tries in the 200-butterfly, slipping past Georgios Veliadis by six one-hundredths of a second. His time of 1:51.39 was the best of the season for Florida Southern. Calvin Giang was third and Sawyer was fourth.
- Franz sent the Mocs into the break with a 0.12-second win over Christian Cioffi of Saint Leo, with Hamilton third and Dyck fourth. That put Florida Southern ahead at that point in the meet, 84-48.
- When swimming resumed, Franz made it 2-for-2 by winning the 100-freestyle in 46.17 seconds, which was 0.01 faster than Cioffi. Campbell came in third for the Moccasins and trailed Franz by 0.16 seconds.
- Lopez picked up his first win of the day in the 200-backstroke in 1:52.10, and Dyck produced another runner-up finish. The closest Saint Leo swimmer was almost three seconds behind him.
- Jasso continued the winning streak with his narrow win over Kim in the 200-breast, but it ended when Rafaj won his second distance event of the day for Saint Leo, taking the 500-freestyle over Holmes and Planinc.
- Saint Leo got another win from Veliadis in the 100-fly, though Miguel Bernotti posted another season-best time for the Mocs by finishing second in 51.22 seconds.
- Lopez had his second win of the meet by capturing the 200-IM in 1:52.68, which was almost 10 seconds ahead of Saint Leo's Henrik Dahrendorff. Jasso was third for the Moccasins and was roughly fourth-tenths of a second behind Dahrendorff.
- Florida Southern finished the meet with a win in the 400-freestyle relay where Campbell, Holmes, Franz and Luka Matacin put together a time of 3:04.39 to win by 1.8 seconds.
INSIDE THE NUMBERS:
- Miguel Bernotti has competed in only three meets for Florida Southern but has three of the team's four fastest times in the 200-butterfly.
- Lopez leads the team with 10 individual wins, and three other Moccasins have between six and eight.
- Franz had his second multi-win meet of the year. He won the 100-fly and 200-free against Tampa on October 27.
- Florida Southern and Saint Leo had not met in a dual meet in four years prior to Friday, and it was the Lions' first visit to Lakeland since January of 2012. The Mocs have won five of the last six dual meets from the Lions, and are now 9-4 all-time against them.
The Moccasins end the regular season with their next meet on Friday, January 26 at NJCAA national champion Indian River State. That meet is scheduled to get underway at 3 p.m.