FIT Men’s Swimming Beats No. 3 Nova Southeastern

By  //  February 1, 2015

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final home meet for seven Panthers

In the four years that Florida Tech has been competing in men’s swimming the Panthers had never defeated fellow Sunshine State Conference member Nova Southeastern. (FIT Image)

BREVARD COUNTY, FLORIDA – In the four years that Florida Tech has been competing in men’s swimming the Panthers had never defeated fellow Sunshine State Conference member Nova Southeastern.

That changed Saturday afternoon as the Panthers eked out a 103-102 victory over the Sharks on Senior Day at the Panther Aquatic Center.

The FIT women weren’t as fortunate, falling to the Sharks 145-60.

Justin Andrade
Justin Andrade

“I’m just really proud of the team,” said head coach Justin Andrade.

“We work every single day on doing the little things right and coming together with the passion, will and love necessary to succeed. That’s what they did today and they accomplished something that they’ve never done before.

“They wanted to do it for the seniors and that’s exactly what they did. It’s a great way to end our dual meet season and we’re excited for the conference championships,” said Andrade.

The day marked the final home meet for seven Panthers.

Will Mitchell, Michael Momanyi, Steven Moodie, Kaikea Nakachi, Victor Westerlund and Takashi Worrell all finished out their careers at the Panther Aquatic Center. Madison Hart is the lone senior for the FIT women.

Freshman Yagoh Kubagawa was the first Panther to record a victory Saturday.

The Brazilian cruised to the victory in the mile with a time of 15:43.53, breaking the school-record by nearly 17 seconds and establishing an NCAA “B” Cut time.

Kubagawa also took the 500-yard freestyle, touching in 4:36.27. Edward Ilako narrowly edged teammate Jonah Rieman in the 50-yard freestyle to take first, recording a time of 21.12.

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Rounding out the Panther victories was Nir Barnea, who secured the win for FIT in the 100-yard butterfly, finishing a full second faster than everybody in 50.30.

Dar Raz was the lone winner for the FIT women.

The sophomore easily outpaced the competition in the 100-yard backstroke with a time of 58.72, more than two seconds faster than the second-place finisher. Raz joined Samantha Conger, Willa Huddleston and Lauren Suarez to finish runner-up in the 400-yard medley relay, touching in 4:06.96.

Shelby Pearce nabbed second in the 200-yard individual medley, making the final touch in 2:15.31.

Liana Soileau was second fastest in the 100-yard butterfly with a 1:02.99 and later joined Raz, Hart and Pearce to place second in the 400-yard freestyle relay with a time of 3:42.44 to close out the meet for the FIT women.

Steven Moodie

For Moodie, it was the perfect way to end his home career at FIT.

“It’s tremendous,” said Steven Moddie.

“It’s the icing on the cake, especially to have it as my senior day. To win by one point, it’s a dream come true to be honest. It’s phenomenal to finish so strong with this great group of guys.”

“I’m excited to watch them over the next few years,” said Moodie.

The senior also reflected on his career in Crimson and Gray.

“To think that it has already been four years here is tremendous,” said Moodie.

“To make it these four years was a great accomplishment. I’m really proud of myself and proud of my teammates and the coaching staff. I’ve made a lot of lifelong friends that I’ll keep forever.”

“I couldn’t ask for a better opportunity. It’s molded me into a better person for the future. Of course it’s bittersweet to end my swimming career but all good things must come to an end.”

Madison Hart
Madison Hart

Madison Hart expressed similar feelings after wrapping up her final appearance in front of the home fans.

“It’s been a crazy rollercoaster,” said Hart.

“Being the first girl to be here for four full years is kind of surreal. It hasn’t really hit me yet but it’s been awesome growing up with my fellow seniors and seeing how far we’ve come.

I’m glad I came here, I wouldn’t have wanted to go anywhere else.”

The Panthers will now turn their attention to the Sunshine State Conference Championships, which will be held Feb. 19-22 in Orlando.