Boys swimming previews: North, East boys swimmers will begin postseason at East Central this year

When the Columbus North and Columbus East boys swimmers compete in the sectional this season, they’ll be doing it in a new venue.

After several years of Columbus North hosting the boys and girls sectional, East Central will host the boys sectional in February. The Bull Frogs still will host the girls sectional.

Here is a look at the outlook for those teams, along with Jennings County:

Columbus North

The Bull Frogs have a new coach in Mike Cunningham, who has been a high school and club coach in the Chicago area.

“We have really a pretty good team,” Cunningham said. “I think we can definitely be competitive. We should have individuals and relays make it to state. I’m pretty excited about it.”

Senior Daniel Utterback finished 10th at state in the 100-yard freestyle, 14th in the 200 freestyle and swam on the 10th-place 400 freestyle relay and 11th-place 200 freestyle relay teams in earning The Republic Boys Swimmer of the Year honors. Junior Isaac Proffitt was a member of that 200 freestyle relay team.

Senior Pratt Badve finished fifth in the sectional in both the 200 individual medley and 100 breaststroke. Other top returners are seniors McClain Clock and Cole Ehara; juniors Jude Abdallah, Brock Smith and David Zhang and sophomore Nicolas Bowers. Ulises Lopez and Carson Shoop are leading the diving contingent.

New to North this year are senior Deglan Cunningham, the coach’s son, and Falk Wenholt, an exchange student from Germany. Top freshmen are Arush Mahato, HP Deyaguptapu and Isaac Niewedde.

“We have a pretty solid returning 16 boys and then a big group that’s coming in behind them,” Mike Cunningham said. “We have a whole bunch of good freshmen that came in.”

Columbus East

The Olympians are hoping to contend for the Hoosier Hills Conference title after finishing second by two points to Floyd Central last season.

“That’s always the goal, no matter who you have or what you’re doing,” East coach Doug Trueblood said. Floyd Central is the team to beat. They’re going to be really good. I think we’re going to be better than we were last year, and if we compete, hopefully, we will be in the running for a good place.”

The Olympians lost their only state qualifier, Dathan Wolf, but are welcoming back senior Brady Beyer, who spent last year training in southern California. Beyer won sectional titles in the 500 freestyle and 100 breaststroke and finished 13th in the 500 freestyle and 16th in the 100 breaststroke at state as a sophomore.

“He’s been working really hard, and then we have boys that have worked with the club in the offseason and made big improvements,” Trueblood said.

Columbus East’s Misha Machavariani competes in the 200-yard medley relay during a swim meet against rival Columbus North at Columbus East High School in Columbus, Ind., Tuesday, Dec. 14, 2021.

The Republic file photo

Sophomore Misha Machavariani finished second in the 500 freestyle and third in the 100 breaststroke in the sectional. Junior Judah Nickoll took fifth in the sectional in the 100 backstroke. Sophomore diver Gavin Day was third in the sectional and 12th in the regional in diving

Other top returners are junior Cavan Stilson, seniors Rylan Perkins and Spencer Erfmeier and sophomores Todd Hundley, Keaton Stephenson and Eli Isaacs. Top newcomers include freshmen Jasper Nickoll, Jonathan Sylva and Taye Linnemann.

“That whole group has worked hard, and they’re motivated,” Trueblood said. “They’re really buying into the culture we’re trying to build here at East. We’re already in midseason workouts right now, so we’re going to push it and see where we can go. I’m just excited to see that work pay off and represent Columbus well.”

Jennings County

The Panthers have only seven swimmers, but four of those are seniors who have been their top performers the past couple of years.

“It’s been an interesting preseason,” Jennings coach Morgan Webster said. “We have a little bit lower of a number than we’d like to have, but the guys we do have are looking strong.”

Senior Noah McFall swam distance events last year and could possibly swim the butterfly this season. Senior Jonathan Jones can do the IM, butterfly and breaststroke, and senior Levi Marsh is a sprint freestyler. Senior Rylan Campbell swam the butterfly and breaststroke last year and could do a variety of events.

“All four of those swimmers have been here for a good amount of time, and we’ve kind of built the swim program around those four guys,” Webster said. “They’ve kind of been the backbone of our program, and it will definitely be a tough loss at the end of the season when we see those guys go.”

Sophomore Preston Harriman also returns. The newcomers are freshmen Dawson Leak and Jace Phillips, both of which ran cross-country this fall.

The 2022-23 boys swimming schedules for Bartholomew County schools: 

Columbus East

Dec. 1;Shelbyville;6 p.m.

Dec. 5;Jennings County;6 p.m.

Dec. 10;at Shelbyville Relays;1 p.m.

Dec. 13;at Columbus North;5:30 p.m.

Dec. 17;New Albany;10 a.m.

Dec. 20;at East Central;6 p.m.

Jan. 5;Bedford North Lawrence;6 p.m.

Jan. 7;at Bloomington North Diving Invitational;10 a.m.

Jan. 10;Madison;6 p.m.

Jan. 19;at Seymour; 6 p.m.

Jan. 21;at Jeffersonville;10 a.m.

Jan. 24;at Greensburg;6 p.m.

Jan. 28;HHC at Floyd Central;1 p.m.

Feb. 6;at Bloomington North;6 p.m.

Columbus North 

Tuesday;at Franklin;5:30 p.m.

Saturday;North Central;10a.m.

Dec. 1;Seymour;5:30 p.m.

Dec. 3;at Center Grove;9 a.m.

Dec. 13;Columbus East;5:30 p.m.

Dec. 17;at Bedford North Lawrence;11 a.m.

Dec. 20;Bloomington South;5:30 p.m.

Dec. 28;at Center Grove Holiday Invitational;10 a.m.

Jan. 5;at Bloomington North;6 p.m.

Jan. 7;Conference Indiana at Vigo County Aquatic Center;9 a.m.

Jan. 17;at Jennings County;6 p.m.