Day wins diving; East, North relay teams in position for call-backs for state

Columbus East’s Gavin Day performs a dive during Saturday’s boys swimming sectional at Columbus North High School.

Tommy Walker | For The Republic

Gavin Day had himself a day.

The Columbus East junior ran away with the diving competition at Saturday’s Columbus North Sectional. He advances to Tuesday’s Jasper Diving Regional with hopes of earning a second consecutive trip to the Boys Swimming and Diving State Finals.

Day scored 446.80 to win by more than 77 points. The margin may have been triple-digits had he not been a little off on his final dive, a triple-somersault.

“I dove pretty well,” Day said. “I definitely have a lot of room for improvement, but overall, I’m pretty satisfied with the way I dove. I have a lot harder dives, and those will score way better than my lower (degree of difficulty) dives.”

Day’s victory led the Olympians to a third-place team finish with 281 points, trailing Bloomington South (438) and Bloomington North (425). Host Columbus North was fifth with 216, four points behind fourth-place East Central.

While none of the swimmers from East or Columbus North immediately qualified for the state finals with event wins or by meeting the state cut, the Olympians’ 200 medley and 400 freestyle relay teams and the Bull Frogs’ 200 freestyle relay teams unofficially have earned callbacks to next weekend’s state meet by swimming among the next-best 12 times after the state’s 20 sectional winners.

East set four school records on Saturday, three of which came from swimmers that broke their own records that they set in Thursday’s sectional preliminaries. Keaton Stephenson finished third in the 200-yard freestyle (1 minute, 45.08 seconds), Misha Machavariani took fourth in the 100 butterfly (52.33) and Cavan Stilson was sixth in the 50 freestyle (21.87).

“Third place (overall as a team) was great,” said East coach Doug Trueblood, who was voted Coach of the Year for the sectional. “I’m really happy with the energy that the boys brought today. Thursday, we were kind of doing what we needed to do to get into the top eight or top 16. Today, they brought that extra and moved up some spots, still dropped some more time. It’s real hard to get up for Thursday and then bring it back and race that intensity for two days. But they did a good job.”

Stilson, Stephenson and Machavariani teamed with Judah Nickoll to set a fourth school record, finishing third in the 400 freestyle relay (3:15.05). Todd Hundley, Machavariani, Nickoll and Stilson took second in the 200 medley relay (1:38.10).

Also for the Olympians, Machavariani finished second in the 100 breaststroke (59.36), Nickoll took third in the 100 backstroke (53.48) and fifth in the 200 freestyle (1:46.38), Hundley was third (2:02.04) in the 200 individual medley and fourth in the 100 backstroke (56.12), Stilson finished fourth in the 100 freestyle (48.20), Stephenson took fifth in the 500 freestyle (4:54.19) and Ethan Hall was seventh in the 200 IM (2:08.45).

“Our seniors, Judah Nickoll and Cavan Stilson, they swam their hearts out today,” Trueblood said. “I’m really proud of them, not just the seniors, but the juniors and sophomores, also.”

Columbus North got a second-place finish in the 200 freestyle relay from Diego Cotero Tapia, Aarush Mahato, Isaac Proffitt and Jude Abdallah (1:29.09). Abdallah took third in the 100 breaststroke (59.41) and fifth in the 50 freestyle (21.72), and Cotero Tapia was third in the 100 butterfly (51.67) and sixth in the 200 freestyle (1:46.80). Dagan Kleffman finished sixth in diving (257.05), Aarush Mahato took sixth in the 100 butterfly (54.91) and Proffitt was seventh in the 50 freestyle (22.26).

The Bull Frogs also finished fourth in the 200 medley relay (1:39.81) and sixth in the 400 freestyle relay (3:35.90).

“We had a really good meet,” North coach Mike Cunningham said. “It just didn’t quite come out exactly how we wanted, but it was pretty awesome. I’m excited for the way they did. I’m happy for the guys. It was a great finish for them.”