The Saint Leo Lions’ swimming team had a great week as both sophomore Matija Rafaj and senior Natalia Garriock were named Sunshine State Conference Male and Female Swimmers of the Week for the week of Jan. 22-28. This was Rafaj’s first and Garriock’s third time winning the award this season. Rafaj joins teammates sophomore Henrik Dahrendorff (Dec. 20) and freshman Georgios Veliadis (Jan. 22) as the only male swimmers to win the award for the Lions this season. The only other Saint Leo women’s swimmer to win the award this season was Cecilie Holten (Nov. 6)
The swimming program had a very successful week as the two teams combined for a 4-1 week with the only loss happening against the Tampa Spartans at home.
Rajaf had five victories and one second place finish during the week. He swept all three of his freestyle races: 200 (1:42.45), 500 (4:38.12), and 1,000 (9:44:88) on Friday at the Marion Bowman Aquatics Center against Tampa and on Saturday in the 500 (4:37:94) and 1,000 (9:34.42) freestyles at the Panther Aquatic Center. His only second place finish of the week was in the 200 Freestyle (1:42.20).
Garriock won four individual events and earned two NCAA “B” Cut times. She posted the 14th fastest time in the NCAA Division II season when she won the 200 Butterfly (2:03.30) during Friday’s senior day against Tampa. With that finish, she took off four seconds off the previous Saint Leo record for the event on her way to earning her first NCAA “B” cut. In addition, she finished first in the 100 Butterfly (56.68) and a relay win in the 400 Freestyle Relay (3:35.19) on Friday.
On Saturday, Garriock added another NCAA “B” Cut time to her resume, this time in the 100 Freestyle (51.69) at the Panther Aquatic Center. She also picked up her fourth individual win of the week in the 100 Backstroke (58.92).
Garriock won the SSC Women’s Swimmer of the Week for the second straight week and the seventh time of her career.
The Lions will continue to prepare for the 2018 SSC Championships on Feb. 22 located in Clearwater, Fl.