First Month Into The Season: Analysis Of Sunshine State Conference

Photo Courtesy: Kyle Staggs

By Abby Boone, Swimming World College Intern

LAKELAND – The swimming season began this month, and every Sunshine State Conference (SSC) team—Nova Southeastern University, Florida Southern College (FSC), Florida Institute of Technology (FIT), Lynn University, Rollins College, Saint Leo University, and Tampa University—jumped in feet first.

Nova Southeastern opened its season at the All-Florida Invite, the only team representing NCAA Division II. Nova’s men’s team finished in third place, while the women’s team placed sixth overall. Freshman Thiago Sickert placed second in the 100-yard butterfly with a NCAA DII ‘B’ qualifying time of 48.23, and third in the 100-backstroke with a NCAA DII ‘B’ time of 50.25.

Tampa and Florida Southern College met in a late night dual under Tampa’s new floodlights. The FSC Mocs pulled ahead for a win on both sides, but the meet was close. Tampa’s men won the first event, the 200-yard medley relay with a time of 1:33.94, but the FSC women took the relay in 1:48.57, only four seconds off their conference winning time in February.

FSC continued its success with Alli Crenshaw, Lauren Reynolds, and Kelsey Gouge winning the 200 freestyle, 100 backstroke, and 100 breaststroke respectively. In the latter two races, Florida Southern swimmers also finished second and third. Crenshaw came in first in the 1000 free, marking 10:27.31, a DII ‘B’ qualifying time well ahead of second-place Brit Bayes of Tampa (10:44.39). Tampa women did finish 1, 2, 3 in the 200 butterfly.

The men’s meet was much closer, with Tampa freshman Wayne Denswil taking the 100 breaststroke (58.88) and 200 IM (1:54.74), Khalid Aldaboo’s winning the 50 free (21.20) and 100 butterfly (51.25), and Runar Borgen winning the 100 free with a time of 47.10. FSC was equally successful, with Juan Tolosa winning the 500 free (4:43.90) and 1000 free (9:53.92), Marco Palacios taking the 100 back (50.86) and 200 back (1:54.96), and Jesus Marin in the 200 free (1:42.22), all of which were comfortable wins for the Mocs.

St. Leo, Lynn, and Florida Institute of Technology (FIT) started their season with a tri-meet at Lynn. St. Leo took both of the wins. Lynn’s Rebecca Matthews clocked two NCAA DII ‘B’ cuts in the 200 free (1:53.7) and 200 IM (2:05.74), while Dar Raz set FIT’s 100 butterfly record at 58.6. St. Leo’s Stephanie Martinez took over the 1000 free (10:48.11), finishing nearly a minute ahead of second place, and won the 500 in similar fashion (5:15.74).

For the men, St. Leo’s Matheus Assis took the 50 free (21.10) and the 100 butterfly (51.39). Leo’s Daniel Bis captured the 200 butterfly (1:53.06) beating teammate Evan Jacobs by .15, and Bis won the 1000 free (9:20.16), just ahead of teammate Jan Urbaniak’s time of 9:20.92. FIT’s Brian Dumont claimed the 100 breast (1:00.21) and the 200 breast (2:14.35), while Thomas Steenberg took the 200 freestyle (1:45.15).

Rollins swam their first official meet against St. Leo at Rollins. St. Leo dominated both men and women. St. Leo’s Jacob Evans took first in the 200 back (2:01.66) and breast (2:08.94), while teammates Hunter Bains took the 200 free (1:40.97), Matheus Assis won the 50 free (21.22), and Dillon Kasson won the 100 free (48.69). On the women’s side, St. Leo’s Nicole Weber set a new St. Leo record of 4:28.11 in the 400 IM, and won the 200 breast (2:15.98).

The freshmen took off, as Joanna Dembska won the 200 free (1:58.96) and 100 free (54.70), Jennifer Litzen won the 1000 free (11:21.88), and Natalia Garriock won the 50 freestyle (25.24). Rollins’ Rachel Acers dominated the 200 back (2:19.99), the only race Rollins won.

Florida Institute of Technology travelled to Georgia to swim against Savannah College of Art and Design. The men took away a victory, but the women were unable to do the same. The FIT men dominated the freestyle events, with Ferruccio Rossi winning the 1000 free, finishing in 9:54.31. Nir Barnea won the 50 free (21.02), and Thomas Steenberg took the 100 free (47.38). Takashi Worrell won the 500 free (4:45.83), and the 200 free relay team of Barnea, Steenberg, Jonah Rieman and Victor Westerlund won in 1:25.06.

On the women’s side, Lauren Suarez, Samantha Conger, Dar Raz and Liana Soileau started with a 4:05.92 win in the 400 free relay. Raz won the 100 fly, finishing in 59.47, Conger took the 100 breaststroke (1:08.82), and Shelby Pierce claimed the 200-yard individual medley at 2:13.98.

The Florida Southern College women also swam that day, competing against, but ultimately losing to, NCAA Division I powerhouse Florida International University. Still, FSC juniors Alli Crenshaw and Kelsey Gouge got NCAA DII ‘B’ cuts; Crenshaw in the 200 free (1:52.59) and 500 free (5:01.2), a time which was only 11 seconds off her conference winning time, and Gouge in the 50 free (24.03). Gouge continued with a 52.9 win in the 100 free, two seconds off her conference winning time. FSC won nothing else, but Lauren Reynolds placed second in the 200 back (2:08.7), nine seconds off her conference winning time. The 200 breast was finished 2, 3, 4, led by freshman Jacinda Whittenberg (2:30.22), then Morgan Burns (2:30.60), and Cassie Ley (2:35.35).

Abby Boone is an English major at Florida Southern College, and has spent two years on NCAA Division II swim team in Lakeland.  Before heading off to college, she trained at Cardinal Aquatics and Triton Swimming.