Columbus East girls swimming coach Jill Arnholt said her team looked better in Saturday’s season opener against Bloomington North than it did in last year’s opener.

Arnholt said her returners looked stronger against Bloomington North, and the Olympians walked away with seven first-place finishes in the 107-79 loss. She also liked what she saw out of her new swimmers in their first meet.

“My new swimmers are showing growth, but they still have things that we need to work on — their growth, their endurance and they’re learning how to swim events,” Arnholt said. “We still have to do some figuring out, but they had great great effort today and I was so happy with their swims.”

Whitley Eicher was a double-event winner for East, taking the 100-yard butterfly in one minute, 1.7 seconds and the 200 individual medley in 2:25.03.

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Jennifer Utterback was the first to touch the wall in the 200 freestyle with a 2:16.28 clocking. Maggie Gregory posted 209.5 points to win the diving competition, while Lizzy Frazier won the 100 freestyle in 58.2. Olivia Hoeltke finished the 500 freestyle in 6:45.97 for a first-place finish.

The Olympians also won the 200 freestyle relay. Anna Andress, Utterback, Eicher and Frazier finished in 1:49.0.

Frazier earned second places in the 50 freestyle (26.41) and 100 backstroke (1:09.93). Maddy Ping finished behind Hoeltke in the 500 freestyle (6:49.11).

Arnholt is pretty optimistic about this season after witnessing her swimmers’ first performance.

“I see a lot of improvement coming,” Arnholt said. “I think they know what they need to do, and I saw some things that we need to do. I think these girls will grow and get faster as the season goes. Olivia Hoeltke and Maddy Ping came out with some really strong 500s. I was really glad to see them swimming in those. Ellie Buntin in the 100 fly, I was so excited about her 100 fly. That time for her is good (1:28.52). I’m really looking forward to watching Lizzy, Jennifer and Whitley go really far. These girls have been training really hard, and I think they’re going to have a really bright season.”

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Frank Bonner is a sports writer for The Republic. He can be reached at or 812-379-5632.