Amherst’s Noah Labich chasing history at Division 2 state swimming championships

  • Noah Labich, of Amherst Regional, swims the 100-yard butterfly during the West/Central Championships at Springfield College, Sunday. The State Division 2 Championships are Sunday at Boston University. The senior is the No. 1 seed in the 100 butterfly with a time of 48.97 seconds, which is just .03 seconds off the state record. FOR THE GAZETTE/CHRISTOPHER EVANS

Staff Writer
Published: 2/14/2020 8:30:27 PM

Amherst Regional senior Noah Labich will be racing history as much as the other swimmers at Sunday’s Division 2 state championships (2 p.m.) at Boston University.

The newly minted sectional champion is the No. 1 seed in two events by wide margins. His top mark in the 100-yard butterfly of 48.97 seconds is just .03 seconds off the state record. No other swimmer has a seed time under 50 seconds.

“There’s always room to improve,” Labich said after the Central/West Championships. “My technical, little details were not the best in that event, so I’m looking to improve on that for states and see where that takes me.”

Labich also holds the No. 1 time in the 200 individual medley at 1:51.92. That’s nearly seven seconds faster than any other competitor.

He also will swim on two of the Hurricanes’ three qualified relays: the 200 medley and 400 freestyle.

Belchertown, fresh off a second-place finish at the West/Central championship, has its sights set just as loftily. The Orioles will bring a deep team that poses a threat to win multiple events.

“I think we could get second again, we’ll see,” Orioles senior Chris Chumbley said after the sectional meet.

Belchertown holds the top mark in the 400 free relay (3:13.79) by a second and a half.

Nathan Dragon and Matt Stelmokas are 1-2 in the 500 free rankings at 4:36.63 and 4:45.78, respectively. Stelmokas is also seeded third in the 200 free (1:46.02).

Chumbley has the third seed in the 100 butterfly (51.44) and the 100 backstroke (53.3), which he placed second in last season.

The Orioles also bring the third-ranked 200 medley relay team (1:38.87).

Northampton’s Oliver Schalet will defend his state championship in the 100 freestyle from the sixth seed (48.7). He’s also seeded third in the 100 breaststroke (59.2).

“I’m really looking forward to it, always a great meet with lots of fast swims,” Schalet said at sectionals.

’Canes looking for more

The No. 3 seed doesn’t represent the Amherst girls 200 medley relay’s potential. The Hurricanes won the event at the Central/West championships but were disqualified. They enter Saturday’s Division 2 state championships with their time from the regular season, 1:52.62

Amherst freshman Lucy Smith has the fourth seed (24.9) in the 50 free. Vianka Acosta-McKenzie is seeded fifth (1:08.22) in the 100 breaststroke, and Sara Baxter has the fifth seed in the 100 backstroke (1:00.30).

Northampton senior Ruby Gottlieb will make her last run at an elusive state title. She’s finished second twice in the 100 butterfly and will be the third seed (59.01) Saturday.

Belchertown’s Allanah Lavoie is seeded eighth in the event (1:01.09).

Easthampton’s Natalia Robak is eighth (5:21.21) in the 500 free. Teammates Amelia Craig and Courtney Ross will compete in 1-meter diving.

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