PHOENIX, Arizona, October 17. SEVERAL of the top-ranked teams in Division II will take to the pool this weekend, including the top two overall and five of the top ten.
Florida Southern, Collegeswimming.com’s top-ranked Division II team based on their performance at the All Florida Invitational earlier in the season, will take on Tampa on Friday in their first home meet of the season. Florida Southern has designated the meet as a “Pink Meet,” with donations going towards Team Gina as part of Breast Cancer Awareness Month.
The Moccasins already have several swimmers ranked first in the country in their respective events, including returning All-Americans Allan Gutierrez (50 free; 21.10), Kelsey Gouge (50 free; 23.88) and Allison Crenshaw (500 free; 5:01.68). Crenshaw, a sophomore, won NCAA titles in both the 1,000 and 1,650 yard freestyle last season, while Gutierrez led Florida Southern to an NCAA title in the men’s 200 medley relay.
Queens University of Charlotte, ranked second overall in Division II by Collegeswimming.com, will host Gardner-Webb University on Friday afternoon in the team’s first meet since the All-North Carolina Invite two weeks ago. Royals Matthew Josa and Caroline Arakelian have separated themselves from the pack in Division II, as both swimmers have posted Division II best times in two different events thus far. Josa leads the country in the 100 free (45.36) and 200 back (1:51.05), while Arakelian is tops in the 200 back (2:01.07) and 400 IM (4:28.01). Both swimmers are incredibly versatile and give the Royals a chance to win in numerous events.
The seventh-, eighth- and ninth-ranked teams, West Florida, Lindenwood and Grand Valley State, along with 12th-ranked Truman State, will also compete this weekend. West Florida will take on Ball State and Centre, while Truman State will host Illinois State on Friday and Lindenwood on Saturday. Grand Valley State will swim against Wisconsin-Milwaukee on Saturday.
Lindenwood’s Gustavo Silva Santa and Ramunas Paknys have been impressive so far this season, as both swimmers stood out at the Show-Me-State Invitational earlier this month. Silva Santa posted the fastest times in the country in the 200 free (1:39.96) and 500 free (4:33.39) at that meet, while Paknys is currently the country’s fastest 100 backstroker at 50.62. With Wingate, Delta State, West Chester and Drury idle this weekend, it’ll be a great opportunity for these swimmers to help their schools move up in the rankings.