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Plenty of North, East swimmers in sectional finals

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The Columbus North boys swimmers had one simple goal in Thursday’s North Sectional preliminary round: Get as many people in the top eight as they could.

The Bull Frogs didn’t necessarily disappoint.

North qualified 19 swimmers into the finals for Saturday’s championship, while Columbus East qualified in four events, including two relays.

“We had a good group of finalists,” North coach Jim Sheridan said. “Our seniors showed great leadership in helping the guys that needed to get in the top eight.”

The Bull Frogs got their evening started by taking the fourth seed in the 200-yard medley relay with a time of 1 minute, 47.08 seconds. East’s relay team qualified seventh (1:50.46)

A trio of North swimmers advanced in the championship round in the 200 freestyle, with Matt Freudenthaler qualifying second (1:49.56), Arturo Contreras fourth (1:50.00) and Ben Thompson fifth (1:50.42).

Cody Taylor took the top time in the 200 individual medley (2:00.28), while Chase McQueen qualified second (2:01.06) and John Rupp seventh (2:04.92). Isaac Walling qualified eighth for the Olympians (2:05.47).

Walling also qualified in the third position in 100 butterfly (54.41).

“This was more of a ground-setting round,” Walling said. “I wanted to get good enough times to get a high seed. I was happy with qualifying in my two events, and I’ll be ready for Saturday.”

North’s Sam Loescher qualified second in the 50 freestyle (21.35), while Zach Zeigler and Kevin Zhang are fourth and fifth seeds for the Bull Frogs. Freudenthaler qualified fourth in the 100 butterfly (54.49) while Contreras took the sixth seed (57.11).

Loescher has the top seed in the 100 freestyle (46.91), while Ben Thompson qualified fifth (50.50). John Rupp (4:57.82) and Jared Imlay (5:02.04) qualified second and fourth, respectively, in the 500 freestyle. North and East’s 200 freestyle relay team’s advanced, with the Bull Frogs having the best time (1:29.91) and the Olympians the fourth-best (1:34.65).

East qualified 12 swimmers into the consolation round. Coach Dave Fribley said the Olympians put up good times going into Saturday.

“We had some individuals have good performances,” Fribley said. “We had some guys get personal records and have a good, strong day.”

North’s Zach Zeigler qualified fourth in the 100 backstroke (56.36), while Imlay was eighth (1:01.80). Taylor qualified second in the 100 breaststroke (1:00.31), while Adam Zhuang took the eighth seed (1:05.21).

Taylor also helped North’s 400 freestyle relay team take the second seed going into Saturday’s championships with a time of 3:22.91.

“Our goal was to make the top eight in most of the events,” Taylor said. “We know we are going to go a lot faster on Saturday. The environment is different, the adrenaline is up and you are going to be excited.”

For Taylor, it is all a matter of getting the sectional title back to the Bull Frogs for the first time since 2003.

“We want to bring the title back to where it belongs,” Taylor said. “It’s been too long, and we are hungry for the championship.”

“We have one of the toughest sectionals in the state,” Sheridan said. “The focus will be there for our guys. They are hungry to get the championship, and come Saturday, there should be a lot of excitement happening here.”

Diving competition begins at 9 a.m. Saturday and will conclude prior to the start of the swimming consolations and finals at 2 p.m.

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