Cozzi Opens Championships in Record-Breaking Fashion

Lions Fourth Across the Board after Day One of Conference Swimming Championships

ORLANDO, Fla. - For the first time in league history, five SSC men's swimming teams took to the water for the inaugural Sunshine State Conference Swimming Championships. The event is being held at the Central Florida YMCA Aquatic Center Feb. 17-20.

The Lions started the championships with a record-setting performance in just the first event. In the first men's event of the evening, Saint Leo's Michael Cozzi won the 1,000 freestyle with a time of 9:32.02. His finishing time proved three seconds better than the previous conference record.

Nova Southeastern's Chris Norris finished second with a mark of 9:34.55. Florida Southern's Lance Cline came in fifth with a time of 9:36.01. Nova Southeastern's Alex Tarr (9:37.40) and Southern's Jack Rund (9:40.12) rounded out the top five.

The gentlemen also took to the pool for the 800-yard freestyle relay. Nova Southeastern won the event with a time of 6:42.40, Tampa came in second with a time of 6:46.58 and Florida Southern placed third (6:47.57). The Lions were in seventh with a time of 7:05.50.

With two events accounted for, Nova Southeastern holds the lead with 115 points. Florida Southern is second with 76. Rollins is holding down the third spot with 65 points, while Saint Leo (64), and Tampa (61) are nipping at its heels.

On the women's side Rollins' Jenny Nilson won the 1,000-yard freestyle with a time of 10:32.04. Florida Southern's Kaitlyn Smith took second place with a mark of 10:44.15. Nova Southeastern's Alex Zatylny claimed third with a time of 10:46.01. Rollins' Grace Alexander was fourth (10:51.00), and Tampa's Tiera Forsyth was fifth (10:52.09).

In the women's 800-yard freestyle relay, Tampa took the top prize with a time of 7:38.79 and Florida Southern (7:41.36) placed second. The Lions finished in fifth with a time of 7:54.88.

With two events in the books, Rollins and Tampa are tied for first with 87 points. Florida Southern is third with 77 points. Saint Leo sits in the fourth slot with 70, while Nova Southeastern is fifth with 51.

Action will resume at the Aquatic Center at 10 a.m. on Friday morning. For a complete schedule of events and full results, visit the "Swimming Championship Central" link on sunshinestateconference.com.