Florida Tech registered solid performances across the board on Thursday during the opening day of the 2016 Sunshine State Conference Championships at the Orlando YMCA Aquatic Center, with junior Nir Barnea making the biggest statement with a historic swim.
The junior Israeli narrowly out-edged Thiago Sickert of Nova Southeastern to take the gold medal in the 50 yard freestyle with a school record time of 19.98, one hundredth of a second faster than his previous top time.
With the win, Barnea became FIT’s very first men’s gold medalist and just the second gold medalist in the history of Panther swimming, matching the feat by countrywoman Dar Raz at last season’s conference championships.
The event win was just one of many exciting moments on the meet’s first day. In total, the Panthers broke three school records and set nine NCAA B Cut times.
“It was a great start to the meet,” said head coach Justin Andrade. “I think we are carrying a lot of momentum into tomorrow. Nir swam a great race in the 50 free. I’m so happy for the men to get their first gold medalist. The team has a lot of good energy heading into Day Two and we’re excited to see what they can do.”
Two other school records fell by the wayside Thursday. The men’s 200 medley relay team of Eric Berg, Brian Dumont, Barnea and Filip Dujmic just missed the podium, placing fourth with a 1:29.71. Lauren Suarez was the fastest woman in the “B” final of the 50 free, breaking Raz’s FIT record after timing in at 23.97. The time was the first B Cut time of the year for the Panther women.
The Panther men took places four through six in the 1,000 free. Swimming during the morning session, Ferruccio Rossi blitzed his previous best time from the season, dropping more than 13 seconds to come in at 9:21.43 for fourth. Yagoh Kubagawa was close behind at 9:21.82 for fifth, while Emanuele Rossi grabbed sixth with a time of 9:23.53.
Nathan Hufnagel impressed in the 200 IM, snagging a seventh place showing after timing in at 1:51.15. FIT also received a seventh place finish in the 200 medley relay as Raz, Christie Deflumeri, Trista Phelps and Liana Soileau teamed up to register a 1:49.00.
The Panther women also scored points in the 200 IM when Shelby Pearce garnered 15th with a 2:10.99 and Phelps followed up with a time of 2:12.72 for 16th.
At the conclusion of the first day of action the FIT men sit in third with 139 points, 12.5 points behind current leader Tampa. The Panther women are slated sixth in the team rankings with 44 points.
Nova Southeastern University men's and women's swimming finished day one of the Sunshine State Conference Championship both in second place with the women's 200-yard medley relay team claiming the Sharks' first victory of the meet.
The Sharks won the women's 200-yard medley relay, which was the last event of the night. The team of Courtney DeVeny (So., Estero, Fla.), Malin Westman (So., Harryda, Sweden), Jordan Shows (So., Alta Loma, Calif.) and Sydney Panzarino (So., Bradenton, Fla.) put up a NCAA B-Standard time of 1:42.95.
The men's 200-yard medley relay team of David Van Der Colff (Fr., Gaborone, Botswana), Anton Lobanov (So., Novosibirisk, Russia), Victor Tarin (Jr., Godelleta, Spain) and Malique Elder (So., Dayton, Ohio) had a third-place finish with a NCAA B-Standard time of 1:29.56.
The women began the night in the 1000-yard freestyle. Georgina Allin (Jr., Somerset, England), Brooke Munion (Jr., Bethlehem, Pa.) and Madison Yelle (So., Mansfield, Texas) took fifth, sixth and seventh in the final with NCAA B-Standard times of 10:17.51, 10:20.69 and 10:22.06, respectively.
In the men's 1000-free, Blake Woodrow (So., Fort Myers, Fla.) came in second with a NCAA B-Standard time of 9:12.50.
The women's 200-yard individual medley featured a second-place finish from Westman and a seventh-place finish from DeVeny. Both Westman's time of 2:04.38 and DeVeny's time of 2:06.54 were NCAA B-Standards.
The men had similar results in the 200 IM as Marco Aldabe (Jr., Alicante, Spain) earned second and Stephen Klein (So., Albuquerque, N.M.) took sixth with NCAA B-Standard times of 1:48.54 and 1:50.28.
The final event of the night was the 50-yard freestyle. Panzarino was the top finisher for the women, coming in third with a time of 23.48. She was followed by Emma Wahlstrom (Jr., Stockholm, Sweden) in fifth (23.71) and Shows in seventh (23.89). All three times made the NCAA B-Standard cut.
Thiago Sickert (Jr., Vila Velha, Brazil), who holds the overall SSC and NSU records in the 50-free (19.88), missed first place by two tenths of a second with a NCAA B-Standard time of 20.00.
The men and the women are both in second place overall with scores of 146.50 and 177.50, respectively. Florida Southern is in the top spot for the women with 195 points while Tampa is in the lead on the men's side with a score of 151.50. Nine Sharks and both relay teams earned NCAA B-Standard times while five swimmers and two relay teams finished in the top-three in their respective finals.
The energy and excitement inside the Orlando YMCA Aquatic Center was palpable Thursday as the 2016 Sunshine State Conference Championships kicked off. Following day one, the University of Tampa men are in first-place while its women are third.
Three new top times for the year were set on the women's side, as UT's Marisa Barton cruised to a 23.03 in the 50 freestyle. Barton led the way as she captured the SSC championship in the event.
The Tampa 200 Medley Relay team also won the SSC title after being clocked at 1:28.63. The group of Jordan Augier, Wayne Denswil, Runar Borgen and Martin Hammer were each part of the winning relay.