Marshall Wilson made history on Friday night, but he still left room for more.
The Crystal River junior became the first Pirate swimmer to finish as a state runner-up, taking second place in the 50-yard freestyle at the Class 2A FHSAA Swimming and Diving State Championship at Aquatic Center at Sailfish Splash Waterpark in Stuart.
He also collected a medal in the 100 free, capping a sensational second consecutive trip to states for the reigning Chronicle Male Swimmer of the Year.
"I feel really good," Wilson said. "It’s my junior year. I was hoping to get first place, but I still came home with two medals, so I’m happy with that.
"At the (50 free) final, he just came out of nowhere. He earned it."
He was Raphael Santos of Pompano Beach, who swam a 20.96 to touch the wall first in the championship final. Wilson posted a time of 21.27.
Coming in to the day Wilson was the top seed in the 50, with a personal-best and school-record time of 21.23. In prelims he swam a 21.24, tying for first with Montverde’s Pedro Helou. Santos was third in 21.28, but the junior made a big leap in the night swims.
"I was a little disappointed," Wilson said. "But in fairness, he probably trained as hard as I did. It came down to timing."
In the 100, Wilson came in sixth with a time of 47.83 following a 47.52 in prelims. He was seeded third at 47.68, another school record he set at regionals.
Last year he was 13th in the 100 (49.10) and 17th in the 50 (22.24).
"It’s wonderful," Crystal River coach Chuck Gatton said. "It’s a great way to cap off a great season for our entire team and Marshall getting close to winning; he gave it his all. He left it all in the pool.
"Marshall, he had to taper for two weeks. Maybe if we didn’t taper and assumed he’d qualify he could have had a big-time drop (in time). But we had to get there. Next year, we know he’s at a higher level. We won’t have to taper at regionals."
Gatton, who also coaches Sun Coast Swim Team, said his year-round swimmers will take a couple weeks off before getting back in the pool after Thanksgiving. For Wilson, that’s when the preparation begins for 2020 and becoming the county’s first individual state champion.
"We have big plans for next year," Wilson said. "We’ll train throughout the summer and hopefully get more medals, and hopefully bring home gold.
"I’m definitely trying for the gold. If I got this close, next year I want it. I want it bad."
As for other Crystal River swimmers competing at states, Ryley Price (17th in boys 100 free, 49.60), Genevieve Kennedy (21st in girls 500 free, 5:24.27) and Hannah Laycock (24th in girls 100 backstroke, 1:04.22), Gatton was the pleased with the overall performance.
"Genevieve aimed for a big-time drop and it happened for her," Gatton said. "It was fantastic the way she raced the entire time. We had great expectations and she exceeded them.
"Ryley just missed making the finals in his first state meet and it was by 300ths of a second. He swam fantastic, too."
Laycock was told on Thursday she had made it in the 100 free, but Crystal River found out upon arrival that it was actually the 100 back. Despite the mix-up, Gatton noted that Laycock still dropped time.
Citrus diver Riley Schaffer finished 11th in the 1-meter diving competition with a score of 295.35, marking his second time making states.
"Riley Schaffer trains with us. He’s like one of us. He did great," Gatton said. "We were rooting for him. We were one big Citrus family."
Lecanto pair collects regional titles
Lecanto senior Sophia Macaisa earned her fourth trip to states by winning the 100 butterfly in Saturday’s Region 3A-2 Championship meet at the Gandy Pool in Lakeland.
Macaisa claimed her third regional championship in a row in the fly, and her fourth regional title overall. She swam a 57.46.
Noah Christensen is headed to states for the first time, the Lecanto senior taking first in the 100 breaststroke in a time of 1:01.52.
Christensen was also an at-large state qualifier in the 200 IM after finishing fourth (2:01.88). Macaisa qualified in the 50 free thanks to a third-place 25.12. The selection list was released late Saturday night.
The 3A state meet will be held next Saturday, also at Aquatic Center at Sailfish Splash Waterpark.