North gets one No. 1 seed, East sets 3 school records at swim sectional prelims

Jude Abdallah

Columbus North’s Jude Abdallah swam the fastest-qualifying time in the 100-yard breaststroke, Columbus East set three school records, and several other Bull Frog and Olympian boys swimmers earned spots in Saturday’s championship and consolation finals at the North Sectional.

Abdallah went 58.86 seconds in the 100 breaststroke preliminaries, putting himself in position to qualify for next weekend’s state finals. Only the winner of each event and those meeting the state-cut time in an event automatically advance to state. If the state’s 20 sectional champions in an event, plus others meeting the state standard, are fewer than 32, the next-best times are added to reach the full field of 32.

The Bull Frogs also had the second-fastest qualifying time in the 200 freestyle relay (1:30.22). Diego Cotero Tapia qualified third in both the the 200 freestyle (1:46.38) and 100 butterfly (51.35),

“The 200 free relay, we have a great shot to make it to state with that,” North coach Mike Cunningham said. “Jude and Diego both have a great shot at making it to state, and then we got so many back in the top 16 that we’re pretty stoked.”

North’s Aarush Mahato qualified fifth in the 100 butterfly (54.85), and Abdallah (21.66) and Issac Proffitt (22.26) qualified fifth and seventh in the 50 freestyle. The Bull Frogs qualified seventh in both the 200 medley (1:50.34) and 400 freestyle (3:50.39) relays.

“The team camaraderie that they had was awesome,” Cunningham said. “The fast times that the kids all swam, and the support that they had for each other (was good).”

Meanwhile, East got school record performances from Keaton Stephenson in the 200 freestyle (fourth, 1:46.72), Cavan Stilson in the 50 freestyle (sixth, 22.13) and Misha Machavariani in the 100 butterfly (fourth, 52.85). The 200 freestyle record had been set only two weeks ago by Judah Nickoll, while the 100 butterfly record had stood since 1985.

“We had a good night,” East coach Doug Trueblood said. “We got some guys up in the top eight, and we got three school records today. I’m thinking that they’ll swim a lot more relaxed Saturday, and I think we have some more time to drop.”

The Olympians also qualified second in the 200 medley relay (1:39.84), third in the 400 freestyle relay (3:22.12) and fourth in the 200 freestyle relay (1:36.35). Nickoll qualified third in the 100 backstroke (54.51) and seventh in the 200 freestyle (1:49.64), Machavariani qualified fourth in the 100 breaststroke (1:00.16), Todd Hundley qualified fourth in the 200 individual medley (2:04.76) and fifth in the 100 backstroke (56.35), Stilson qualified fifth in the 100 freestyle (48.65) and Ethan Hall qualified eighth in the 200 IM (2:08.13).

“We may struggle to get down to the state cuts in a couple events, but I’m hoping that we swim some fast races and get up there in the top two, if we can get into some top-two’s, we could have a really good chance to get some callbacks,” Trueblood said. “We have some shots I think our relays have a shot if we continue to swim. We’re not fully suited out with all the guys yet.”

Diving gets underway at 9 a.m. Saturday, with the swimming finals and consolations starting at 1 p.m. East’s Gavin Day is one of the top diving contenders. The top four divers on Saturday qualfiy for Tuesday’s Jasper Diving Regional.