Boys swim teams hope for big seasons

Columbus East’s Misha Machavariani swims the backstroke portion of the 200-yard individual medley Dec. 6, 2022, against Jennings County at Columbus East High School.

The Republic file photo

After Columbus East and Columbus North had to travel to East Central for last year’s boys swimming sectional, this year’s sectional will return to North. It trades places with the girls swimming sectional, which will be at East Central instead of North this year.

Here is a look at the Columbus East and North boys teams, as well as Jennings County, which competes in the Floyd Central Sectional:

Columbus East

The Olympians had a breakthrough season last year, qualifying for state in five events. They lost The Republic Boys Swimmer of the Year Brady Beyer to graduation, but return the other three swimmers and the diver who competed at state.

“They look pretty strong right now,” East coach Doug Trueblood said. “I’m excited to see what we do. We graduated a lot of points last year, but we have a great group of seniors and some juniors that look really hungry right now, and we also have some young freshman that are starting out and trying, and I’m anxious to see how they progress over the course of the season. They’re swimming hard in our practices.”

Junior Misha Machavariani and seniors Judah Nickoll and Cavan Stilson are back from state-qualifying 200-yard medley and 400 freestyle relay teams. Junior Gavin Day was state qualifier in diving.

Juniors Todd Hundley and Keaton Stephenson were sectional finalists last season, when the Olympians finished fourth overall as a team. Junior Ethan Hall was a consolation finalist.

“We have a good group of boys that are working hard, and I’m anxious to see how they step up. I certainly think they can step up. These guys have every bit of potential and capability to compete for a sectional title in their individual events.”

Senior Jesse Isaacs also could contribute, along with freshmen Jamison Kessler and Jake Pope, both of which are new to swimming.

“All of our young guys are really excited right now,” Trueblood said. “The hard work hasn’t scared them away, and that’s a good thing because swimming is not always easy.”

Columbus North

The Bull Frogs will look to improve on a fifth-place sectional finish.

“They’re pretty zoned in on going after some high goals this year,” North coach Mike Cunningham said. “We have a really strong group of guys that are dedicated to what they want to do. We plan on qualifying for state, taking a couple relays and some individuals.”

Seniors Jude Abdallah, Isaac Proffitt and Brock Smith were sectional finalists in at least one event last year. They also swam on “A” relay teams, along with senior David Zhang.

Sophomore Aarush Mahato was a consolation finalist at the sectional. Other top returners include Nick Bowers, HP Devaguptapu, Jay Venugopal and Matthew Burge.

Top newcomers are freshmen Hudson Clock and Eli Varchenko; along with Diego Cortero Tapia, a move-in from Mexico, and Victor Jorgenson, an exchange student from Denmark.

“We have a couple freshmen coming in that are going to be nice and strong for us,” Cunningham said. “We have a group of guys that have kind of walked in that are new and are going to be great additions. We have a pretty big upperclassmen group this year, so it should be good.”

Freshman Dagan Kleffman and sophomore Gary Streeval are the top divers.

“The boys are coming along pretty awesome,” Cunningham said. “”It’s been a short time for most of them. Most have been off doing other sports, but they’re actually looking really good.”

Jennings County

The Panthers will have a small team with only three swimmers to begin the season.

“Our numbers are pretty down,” Jennings coach Morgan Webster said. “Last year, I felt like we had a pretty small team. We had seven or eight last year, and four were seniors, so we only brought back a couple.”

The lone returners are junior Preston Harriman in the distance freestyle and backstroke events and sophomore Dawson Leak in the sprint freestyle events. They are joined by promising freshman Charlie Witt.

“Ever since he moved here, it’s been a waiting game until he got in high school,” Webster said. “He’s a good breaststroker. He’s a good freestyler. We’re not sure where we’re going to put him yet.”

The 2023-24 boys swimming schedules for Columbus East and Columbus North:

Columbus East

Nov. 30 at Shelbyville, 6 p.m.

Dec. 4 at Jennings County, 6 p.m.

Dec. 9 at Shelbyville Relays, 1 p.m.

Dec. 12 vs. Columbus North, 5:30 p.m.

Dec. 16;at New Albany;10 a.m.

Dec. 19 vs. East Central, 6 p.m.

Jan. 4 at Bedford North Lawrence, 6 p.m.

Jan. 9 at Madison, 6 p.m.

Jan. 18 vs. Seymour, 6 p.m.

Jan. 20 vs. Jeffersonville, 10 a.m.

Jan. 23 vs. Greensburg, 6 p.m.

Jan 27 in HHC meet at Jeffersonville, 10 a.m.

Jan. 30 vs. Bloomington North, 6 p.m.

Columbus North

Tuesday vs. Franklin, 5:30 p.m.

Nov. 25 at North Central, 10 a.m.

Nov. 30 at Seymour, 5:30 p.m.

Dec. 5 at Center Grove (with Whiteland), 6 p.m.

Dec. 9 at East Central Relays, 11 a.m.

Dec. 12 at Columbus East, 5:30 p.m.

Dec. 16 vs. Bedford North Lawrence, 11 a.m.

Dec. 19 at Bloomington South, 5:30 p.m.

Dec. 29 at Center Grove Holiday Invitational, 10:30 a.m.

Jan. 4 vs. Bloomington North, 6 p.m.

Jan. 6 in Conference Indiana at Vigo County Aquatic Center, 9 a.m.

Jan. 11 vs. Heritage Christian, 5:30 p.m.

Jan. 16 vs. Jennings County, 6 p.m.