The 2018 All-Sunshine State Conference men's swimming team has been announced and the Florida Southern Moccasins earned a league-high seven selections with four on the first team, two on the second, and one honorable mention. It's the second year in a row Florida Southern has had the most All-SSC men's swimmers after eight made the team last season.
Earning spots on the All-SSC First Team are junior Matthew Holmes, and seniors Noah Franz, Luis Jasso and Luka Matacin. All four were members of the All-SSC team last year as well, and Holmes is now a 3-time First Team All-SSC selection. Making the second team are freshmen Brandon Dyck and Matias Lopez, while junior Luka Planinc is honorable mention all-conference and a member of the All-SSC team for the second year in a row.
Holmes is the first Moccasin to win three first-team awards since Luis Rojas, a 4-time winner, did so from 2012-15. Of the eight swimmers voted First Team All-SSC this year, he is the only one to have made it three years in a row. The junior from Rockledge, Florida was the Men's Swimmer-of-the-Meet at the SSC Championships where he won gold medals in both the 200- and 400-individual medley, setting conference and meet records in the process. He was also the SSC silver medalist in the 500-freestyle and helped two relay teams win gold medals too. An automatic qualifier for next week's NCAA Division II National Finals in the 200-IM, Holmes has five other NCAA "B" times and 10 individual wins this season. He has multiple wins in four different events, the 200-free, 500-free, 200-IM, and 400-IM.
Franz, who was a second-team pick last year in his first year with the Moccasins, moves up to the first team this year in a season that has seen him post Florida Southern's top times in the 50- and 100-freestyle, and another NCAA "B" time in the 200-free. He had individual wins in all three of those events and had bronze medals in the 100 and 200 for the second year in a row. Franz also swam the butterfly win on the 200- and 400-medley relay teams that won gold medals at the SSC Championships.
Jasso is another Moccasin moving up from second team all-conference to the first team after he won gold medals in both breaststroke events at the SSC Championships. He too was part of the Moccasins' winning 200- and 400-medley relay teams by swimming the breaststroke leg for each of them, and he'll be competing in those events at the National Finals for the fourth year in a row.
Matacin was an honorable mention All-SSC swimmer last year in his first season at Florida Southern and this year has a spot on the first team. He was an NCAA provisional qualifier in the 200-free, 200-back, and 200-IM, and brought home the SSC silver medal in the 200-IM when he was second to only Holmes. Matacin picked up a gold medal as part of the Mocs' winning 800-freestyle relay team.
Florida Southern's freshman class is well represented on the second team with Dyck and Lopez, both of whom were among the league's best backstroke swimmers. Dyck won the SSC title in the 100, Lopez won the 200 where Dyck was runner-up, and they combined to win every backstroke race in all five meets in the second semester. Lopez also won four times in the individual medley and tied Jasso for the team lead this year with 11 individual wins. Dyck, meanwhile was the Mocs' top swimmer this year in the 100-back and 100-fly, and the backstroke swimmer on their league champion medley relay teams.
Completing the Moccasins' all-conference selections is Planinc, who is an All-SSC swimmer for the second year in a row after earning first-team status last year as a sophomore. Planinc claimed bronze medals this year in the 1,000- and 1,650-freestyle and was an NCAA provisional qualifier in both events as well as the 500 and 200. He also teamed up with Holmes, Matacin, and Lopez to help the Moccasins take gold in the 800-freestyle relay at the conference championships.
The SSC Coach-of-the-Year, Swimmer-of-the-Year and Freshman-of-the-Year awards will be voted on after the National Finals, which are next week in Greensboro, North Carolina. The complete All-SSC men's swimming Team can be found here.