The third time was a charm for a Magnolia High School distance swimmer.
Gustavo Ott’s silver in the 500-yard freestyle was the lone individual medal won for a Montgomery County swimmer Saturday evening at the boys UIL Class 5A Swimming and Diving Championship at North East ISD Davis Natatorium in San Antonio.
Ott, a senior in his third appearance at state in the 500, swam a school-record time of 4 minutes, 39.88 seconds to win second place and his first career medal at the state meet.
Ott was concerned after his 200-yard individual medley performance earlier in the meet didn’t quite go his way.
“It was about time,” Ott told the Houston Chronicle of winning a medal. “It was scary because I didn’t do that good in my 200 IM but once I went out (in the 500 free), I felt it and had to keep going.”
Ott was six seconds behind gold medal winner Andrew Guziec of Frisco Memorial and close to a second ahead of bronze medalist Anthony Paculba from Carrollton Creekview.
Ott improved off of his seventh-place preliminary time of 4 minutes, 47.62 seconds earlier Saturday and swam past his mark of 4 minutes, 41.72 seconds that won him gold at the regional meet earlier this month.
A year ago, Ott finished in eighth place at the state meet in the 500 and he was seventh place prior to that in 2019.
Ott raced in the 200-yard individual medley for the third time in his career at state. He finished in a time of 1 minute, 58.74 seconds for 14th place. He also finished 14th a year ago and 13th as a sophomore. Ott was a call-up in the event after the regional meet.
Magnolia finished 23rd as a team with 32 points.
“It means a lot for us especially because we had all of those days off because of a snow storm and COVID and everything. It’s such a weird year so it means a lot,” Ott told the Chronicle.
Frisco Wakeland brought home the state championship with 215 points. Kingwood Park was the top-performing Greater Houston area school with a finish of third place and 160 points.
Magnolia West finished one spot ahead of Magnolia with 33 points and Lake Creek finished 31st with 30 points.
Whitaker just shy of bronze in 100 fly
Lake Creek junior Jacob Whitaker came up just shy of a bronze medal in the 100-yard butterfly, but vastly improved on his state appearance in the race a year ago.
Whitaker finished fourth Saturday with a time of 50.14 seconds, just off of John David Cass of Texarkana Texas, who finished in 49.91 seconds to win third.
Whitaker, who finished in 15th place a year ago in the event, had a time of 50.56 in the preliminary race, which was tied for third.
Whitaker also earned a call-up nod in the 200-yard freestyle where he finished 12th earlier in the meet. Whitaker’s time in the race was 1 minute, 46.11 seconds, nearly a second off his preliminary time of 1 minute, 45.04.
Richert just misses medal
Magnolia West senior Tristan Richert finished fourth in his second career 200-yard individual medley at the state meet.
The Ouachita Baptist recruit finished with a time of 1 minute, 53.05 seconds, nearly a second behind bronze medalist Landon Alarcon of Georgetown.
Richert swam a time of 1 minute, 52.38 seconds in the morning preliminary, which was the second-best time. Richert was first at the regional meet earlier this month.
Fellow Magnolia West Mustang Jacob Ratkovich swam in the ‘B’ final of the 100-yard freestyle and finished 13th at 48.14 seconds. The sophomore was a call-up after a 47.87 time in the regional meet earlier this month.
Bigler finishes 11th in first state meet
Magnolia’s Jake Bigler finished 11th place in one-meter diving.
Bigler, the regional champion earlier this month, totaled 344.50 points and was 10 points shy of 10th.
Bigler, a freshman, was eighth place Saturday afternoon after prelims. He scored 404.15 points in the early session.
Relay teams cap meet
Magnolia West’s Jacob Ratkovich, Justin Flores, Jonathan Ratkovich and Richert finished 10th place at 3 minutes, 15.63 seconds. The quartet also qualified for the 200-yard freestyle relay, but were disqualified during preliminaries due to an early take-off.
Magnolia’s 400-yard freestyle relay of Ott, Nick Moylan, Nathan Scott and McKinley Mouton finished 14th place at 3 minutes, 18 seconds.
Adam Coleman contributed to this report