Diver’s Day: Meier advances to regional; North takes fourth, East fifth in team standings

The swimming season came to an end for the Columbus North and Columbus East girls on Saturday afternoon, but one diver kept alive her hopes of making a third trip to the state finals.

East junior Gabbie Meier captured the diving competition at the North Sectional for the third consecutive year. She will compete in Tuesday’s Jasper Diving Regional, where the top eight finishers will qualify for next weekend’s state finals.

Meier’s score of 421.65 for 11 dives was a little off her career best. She won by just less than 11 points over East Central’s Bree Cleary.

“I kind of started out rough,” Meier said. “Then, my teammates and my coaches helped calm me down, and then it started to go really smooth after that.”

Meier, who finished 16th at state last year, was in danger of posting a low score for her seventh dive on Saturday. But because of a loud noise on her dismount, judges allowed her to redo the dive, and she stuck it.

“It was huge,” Meier said. “The first time, it was really bad, and I heard a noise, so I was like, ‘I might as well say something about it.’ (The judges) heard it, as well.”

Bloomington South won the team title with 475 points. Bloomington North took second with 384, followed by East Central with 302, Columbus North 226 and Columbus East 207.

The Bull Frogs’ best individual finishes were fourths by sophomore Katie Frazier in the 200-yard freestyle (2 minutes, 8.54 seconds) and freshman Ainsley Sherlock in the 100 breaststroke (1:10.88). Sherlock also took fifth in the 200 individual medley (2:20.23).

Columbus North finished third in the 400 freestyle relay (3:56.06) and fourth in the 200 medley (1:56.49) and 200 freestyle (1:49.39) relays. Karissa Bevis took fifth in the 50 freestyle (25.60) and 100 freestyle (57.02), Brooklyn Pendleton was seventh in the 50 freestye (26.31) and Lydia Putney came in eighth in diving (282.35).

“I’m extremely happy with how everybody did,” Columbus North coach Mike Cunningham said. “It was awesome. It was a great team effort. Everybody worked really hard, and all their hard work from the season paid off. We had PRs in every single swim but one Thursday (in the preliminaries) and PRs in almost all the swims today.”

For the Olympians, freshman Cassidy Furnish finished third in both the 200 freestyle (2:08.03) and 500 freestyle (5:38.30). East was fourth in the 400 freestyle relay (4:00.21), fifth in the 200 freestyle relay (1:51.85) and sixth in the 200 medley relay (2:03.92).

The Olympians’ Claire Brooks (1:06.26) and Meier (1:10:93) finished seventh and eighth in the 100 butterfly.

“Gabbie (in diving), we expected,” East coach Doug Trueblood said. “She’s been a great diver, and she’s been at state. She dove well. I think she can dive better.

“The girls in the pool, and Gabbie included, all swam great this week,” he added. “Thursday, we had some great times. Overall, everybody dropped time, like we should, and then we had some great performances today to move up spots. We were not as fast as as we have been in the past, but they’re gritty, and they kept going and fighting hard. They were very motivated today.”