ORLANDO — Melanie Margalis headed for the blocks and visualized a time that had not been eclipsed in 15 years.
The Countryside senior dreamed about breaking the 200-yard individual medley state record in the event of 1 minute, 58.91 seconds, set by Gainesville Eastside's Allison Wagner in 1994.
Friday, the moment arrived at the Class 3A meet.
Margalis, the two-time defending state champion in the event, used her underwater skills after the start to surface with the lead. By the final turn, the rest of the swimmers had fallen back, leaving Margalis to swim against the clock.
After it was over, Margalis checked the giant television screen and scoreboard to see her name and time. She not only finished first with ease, but shattered the state record with a time of 1:57.07, less than a second off the national record of 1:56.45.
"I really wanted to break the national one, but I'm happy with the state record," Margalis said. "I thought it was something I might have had, but I'm not good at judging times. I had to look to the scoreboard to know."
Margalis wasn't finished. In the 500 free, she pulverized the competition, winning in 4:42.62 — 10 seconds ahead of her closest rival, East Lake's Taylor Katz.
Margalis also teamed with Cortney Grace, Lauren Hall and Emily Hall on the third-place 200 medley relay (1:47.81). The same four placed second in the 200 free relay (1:36.49). The Cougars girls were sixth overall.
Seminole's Kaitlin Frehling won her third straight title in the 50 free in 23.36. But she wasn't able to win her third straight in the 100 fly, finishing as runnerup.
"I knew they were going to be two tough races," Frehling said. "I'm still happy with the way things turned out."
Katz, a freshman, won her first title in the 200 free with a time of 1:48.79. Northeast's Lauren Piper was third in the 100 back (56.32).
"I was nervous being at my first state meet," Katz said. "I thought I had a chance to win and knew I had to be strong at the end."
On the boys side, Countryside's Mate Fabian tied with Winter Park's Harrison Curly for the state title in the 100 back, each posting 50.87.
"I wasn't really sure at the end," Fabian said. "I thought the other might have had it. But to win, it's the best feeling in the world."
Fabian was fourth in 100 fly. He teamed with Istevan Meszaros, Jonathan Taddeo and Jon Witkowski on the second-place 200 medley relay. In the 400 free relay, Fabian swam with Taddeo, Meszaros and Kelly to finish third in 3:11.41. Meszaros was third in the 100 breast.
The Cougars finished second in the team standings with 169.5 points.
Palm Harbor University's Wes Stearns was second in the 200 free and 500 free. Seminole's Matt Thompson was second in the 200 IM and third in the 500 free.