Saturday was a day of near misses for the Columbus East girls swimmers when it hosted the Hoosier Hills Conference meet.

Maggie Gregory narrowly missed the school diving record in a third-place finish. Then a few minutes later, Whitley Eicher took second in a photo finish in the 100-yard butterfly.

Finally, the Olympians came up just five points short of a third-place team finish, scoring 139 to third-place Bedford North Lawrence’s 144. Floyd Central won the title with 327 to 316 for Jeffersonville.

“We were really hoping to move up to third this year,” East coach Jill Arnholt said. “But the girls gave it their all. It’s been hard because we’ve had to reschedule it so many times, but we’ve been focused on staying pumped for this meet. They came in to swim well, and they did.”

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Eicher looked like she might win the 100 butterfly, but the touch pad did not go off when she finished. The backup hand-held time registered her at 1 minute, 1.95 seconds, three-hundreths of a second behind Floyd Central’s Lauren Thompson.

East’s Jennifer Utterback finished fourth in the 50 freestyle in 26.44. Eicher took fifth (1:15.61) and Marin Wieneke seventh (1:16.26) in the 100 breaststroke, and Lizzy Frazier was sixth in the 100 freestyle (57.87). That quartet teamed to finish second in the 200 freestyle relay (1:46.24) and third in the 200 medley relay (1:57.44).

Meanwhile, Jennings County’s Hailey Brown defended her conference diving championship. Brown scored 394.05 points to 379.53 for Floyd Central’s Anya Davenport and 345.30 for Gregory.

“It could be better, but I’m happy with it,” Brown said. “I hope to improve at sectional.”

The Panthers finished seventh as a team with 91 points. Their top swimmers were Jalea Millon with a seventh-place finish in the 50 freestyle (27.25) and Sarah Webster with an eighth in the 100 butterfly (1:09.77).

“We had people drop time,” Jennings coach Chaz Wilson said. “We had personal-bests today. They all swam great.”

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Ted Schultz is sports editor for The Republic. He can be reached at or 812-379-5628.