CLEARWATER, Fla. – The University of Tampa captured the 2019 Sunshine State Conference Women's Swimming Championship as the Spartan men finish as the runner-up. This marks the fourth SSC title for the UT women, and first since 2014.
Nova Southeastern University wrapped up its third straight Sunshine State Conference Men's Swimming Championship Sunday night, as the Spartans ended the Sharks' two-year reign as the women's champion. Florida Southern senior Matt Holmes completed a perfect run through the meet with his fourth individual gold medal to bring the 2019 SSC Swimming Championships to a close.
Overall, the Spartans established a total of 17 new school records throughout the four days of competition. Sunday included new record times from Hana van Loock in the 100 Free, Courtney Sherwood in the 200 Back, Luke Hene in the 200 Back, and McKenzie Street in the 200 Breast.
The Sharks out-scored the Spartans 852.5 - 819 to win the men's title for the fifth time overall, which marked the first time in five years Nova Southeastern and Florida Southern did not occupy the top two positions in the standings. Florida Southern was third this year with 761 points, followed by Saint Leo (423.5), Florida Tech (319), and Rollins (285). Florida Southern led the final medal count with 20, Tampa was second with 16, and Nova Southeastern was third with 15, but won with superior depth. The gold medal count was split almost evenly between those three schools with Florida Southern and Tampa collecting seven each and Nova Southeastern picking up six. (There was one tie for first in the meet.)
Holmes ran away with the men's swimmer-of-the-meet award by winning the 200-breaststroke Sunday night, giving him four wins in four individual events. He joins former Nova Southeastern swimmer Franco Lupoli as the only men to win four SSC individual titles in a single meet. The senior from Rockledge, Florida won both individual medley events and both breaststroke events this year, giving him seven SSC gold medals in his career. Holmes is also just the second two-time SSC Men's Swimmer-of-the-Meet, with Saint Leo's Matheus Assis the first in 2013 and '14. Finishing second to Holmes in this year's point race were Florida Southern teammate Luka Planinc and Tampa's Luke Hene, who each scored 70 points and picked up gold medals on Sunday in the 1650-free and 200-back respectively.
The SSC Women's Championships were largely dominated by Tampa and Nova Southeastern, with the Spartans outscoring the Sharks 976 - 939, and third-place Florida Southern scoring 391 points. Lynn was fourth with 369 points, followed by Saint Leo (335), Rollins (310), and Florida Tech (280). The championship was Tampa's first since 2014, but fourth overall. The Spartans had been runner-up each of the last two seasons before their 37-point victory over the Sharks this year. The Spartans and Sharks combined for 40 of the 57 medals awarded (23-17 in favor of Tampa), with the Sharks holding a 9-8 edge in gold medals. Tampa, however, clinched the title by winning three of its gold medals Sunday night in the 100-free (Hana van Loock), 200-back (Courtney Sherwood) and the 400-freestyle relay. The Spartans, in fact, had a 1-2-3 finish from Van Loock, Elizaveta Bazarova, and Megan Waddell in the 100-free, who then combined with Molly O'Hara for the winning time in the 400-freestyle relay.
Nova Southeastern sophomore Emma Sundstedt was the women's SSC Swimmer-of-the-Meet after collecting her third gold medal of the week. Combined with one silver, it gave Sundstedt 77 points to put her just four points ahead of freshman teammate Sasha Maslova, who also had three gold medals.
EDITOR'S NOTE..eight SSC meet records were broken at the 2019 championship (five men, three women) and three overall conference records were eclipsed (men's 200 IM, women's 400 IM, and women's 200 Fly). New 2018-19 conference top times were set in all 19 women's events and in 12 men's events.
Women's 1650 Freestyle Medalists:
1. *Emma Sundstedt SO Nova Southeastern 16:37.53
2. Jessie Tobin SO Tampa 17:00.79
3. Catalina Galea Berraud SR Lynn 17:05.37
*SSC Meet record
Men's 1650 Freestyle Medalists:
1. Luka Planinc SR Florida Southern 15:35.75
2. Bernardo Abascal SO Nova Southeastern 15:39.22
3. Vincent Lijoi JR Nova Southeastern 15:40.23
Women's 100 Freestyle Medalists:
1. Hana van Loock SO Tampa 49.83
2. Elizaveta Bazarova FR Tampa 50.72
3. Megan Waddell JR Tampa 50.94
Men's 100 Freestyle Medalists:
1. Alec Dawson SO Nova Southeastern 44.36
2. Cameron Newton SR Tampa 44.43
3. Christian Huber FR Christian Huber 44.48
Women's 200 Backstroke Medalists:
1. Courtney Sherwood FR Tampa 1:58.82
2. Karolina Smylek FR Lynn 2:00.94
3. Erin Hixenbaugh FR Tampa 2:03.12
Men's 200 Backstroke Medalists:
1. Luke Hene JR Tampa 1:44.94
2. Matias Lopez SO Florida Southern 1:45.68
3. Brett Saunders JR Tampa 1:46.43
Women's 200 Breaststroke Medalists:
1. Haley DeGrace SR Florida Southern 2:15.80
2. Sarah Hughes SR Lynn 2:15.88
3. McKenzie Street SR Tampa 2:16.15
Men's 200 Breaststroke Medalists:
1. Matt Holmes SR Florida Southern 1:58.53
2. Henrik Dahrendorff JR Saint Leo 2:00.02
3. Dorian Bachlaj FR Florida Southern 2:00.62
Women's 400 Freestyle Relay Medalists:
1. Tampa 3:22.84
2. Nova Southeastern 3:24.95
3. Florida Southern 3:27.64
Men's 400 Freestyle Relay Medalists:
1. Tampa 2:58.07
2. Florida Southern 2:58.15
3. Nova Southeastern 2:58.59