Bull Frogs to compete at state in three events

Jude Abdallah

When the Columbus North Sectional was finished on Saturday afternoon, the host Bull Frogs left not knowing if any of their athletes had qualified for the state finals.

By Saturday evening, it was apparent that North would have three swimmers with the opportunity to compete again this weekend when the state’s best take the blocks at IUPUI’s Indiana University Natatorium.

Aarush Mahato

“I was really happy,” sophomore Aarush Mahato said. “I thought we did good, but I didn’t think we’d be good enough to make it.”

Only sectional champions and those who make the state cut automatically qualify for state. Beyond that, those with the next-best times are added until a full field of 32 is reached in each event.

Senior Jude Abdallah in the 50-yard freestyle and junior Diego Cotero Tapia in the 100 butterfly got the very last call back in those events.

Abdallah learned he had made it on Sunday morning.

“Rusty (Imlay), our assistant coach, called me like five times,” Abdallah said. “I finally woke up on like the fifth time.”

The Bull Frogs’ 200 freestyle relay team made the field a little more easily. They secured the seventh of the 12 call-backs.

Isaac Proffitt

“I woke up (Sunday) and checked the group chat that we were all in, and I saw that we had made it, and I was pretty surprised, so that was pretty exciting,” senior Isaac Proffitt said.

“We were pretty surprised,” Abdallah added. “It depends on the year who gets pulled in and who doesn’t. But I think that we swam well enough to earn it, and I’m looking forward to swimming again on Friday because I think there’s more there. I think we can drop some time. We don’t have much time to drop to be able to swim again on Saturday, so that’s our goal — to make it back.”

David Zhang

Mahato, Abdallah, Cotero Tapia and Proffitt make up the 200 freestyle relay team. David Zhang is the first alternate.

“The night before, we were just looking for times, and we thought we might have gotten it, but we weren’t sure,” Zhang said. “The next morning, we checked and they made it, so was just really proud of them because I’ve seen all their hard work they’ve put in, and I’m just glad they have one more meet.”

Proffitt is the only one of the group who has competed at state before. He was on the relay team as a sophomore.

“It’s really exciting,” Proffitt said. “Missing it last year, I was a little mad about that. I really wanted to come back my senior year and end it on a good note, and I’m also glad I can help these guys get to state for the first time.”

Cotero Tapia is seeded 25th at state in the 100 butterfly based on his sectional time of 51.67 seconds. Abdallah is seeded 27th in the 50 freestyle at 21.72.

“My main goal is just to go less time,” Abdallah said. “I had a good swim on Saturday. It’s pretty hard coming back a week later and dropping time, but I think there’s more small detail improvements I can make to my race. Just any sort of best time, I’d be really happy with it to end the swimming for me as a senior.”

The 200 freestyle relay team is seeded 21st in 1:29.09.

“I didn’t expect the individual ones (to get call-backs), just because of how fast the state is sometimes,” North coach Mike Cunningham said. “So it was really cool to see the individuals and the relay make it. I was hoping our medley (relay) would, but they were just a little bit off.”

The top eight in each event from Friday’s preliminaries qualify for Saturday’s finals. Swimmers 9-through-16 in each event make the consolation heat.

The Bull Frogs are within less than a half-second of the No. 16 spot in the 50 freestyle and the 200 medley relay and only 62-hundreths of a second off in the 100 butterfly.

“It would be pretty awesome to be able to come back,” Cunningham said. “We have hopes to be able to. We did go all in on sectional to try to make it, so we’ll see what they can do. It will be stepping up and racing as hard as they can, and those boys like to race. I think we have a good shot at least in the relay, and hopefully, Diego and Jude can have some good swims.”