Northampton junior Ruby Gottlieb repeats as Central/West Swimming and Diving 100 butterfly champ

  • Northampton's Jordyn Vandergrift dives Feb. 10 during the 2019 Girls West Central Swimming and Diving Championships at Springfield College's Art Linkletter Natatorium. FOR THE GAZETTE/SARAH CROSBY

  • Northampton's Jordyn Vandergrift dives Feb. 10 during the 2019 Girls West Central Swimming and Diving Championships at Springfield College's Art Linkletter Natatorium. FOR THE GAZETTE/SARAH CROSBY

  • Easthampton’s Saige Harper swims the 100-yard freestyle during the Girls Central/West Swimming and Diving Championships, Sunday at Springfield College. FOR THE GAZETTE/SARAH CROSBY

  • Northampton’s Ruby Gottlieb swims to a victory in the 100-yard butterfly during the Girls Central/West Swimming and Diving Championships, Sunday at Springfield College’s Art Linkletter Natatorium. It was Gottlieb’s second straight title in the event. Visit gazettenet.com for more photos and video. FOR THE GAZETTE/SARAH CROSBY

  • Northampton’s Ruby Gottlieb swims to a victory in the 100-yard butterfly Sunday during the Girls West/Central Swimming and Diving Championships at Springfield College’s Art Linkletter Natatorium. It was Gottlieb’s second straight title in the event. More championship coverage, Page B1. FOR THE GAZETTE/SARAH CROSBY

  • Northampton's Jordyn Vandergrift reacts following a dive Feb. 10 during the 2019 Girls West Central Swimming and Diving Championships at Springfield College's Art Linkletter Natatorium. FOR THE GAZETTE/SARAH CROSBY

  • Northampton’s Jordyn Vandergrift dives during the Girls Central/West Swimming and Diving Championships at Springfield College’s Art Linkletter Natatorium. FOR THE GAZETTE/SARAH CROSBY

  • Amherst's Lucy Smith swims the butterfly portion of the girls 200 yard medley relay Feb. 10 during the 2019 Girls West Central Swimming and Diving Championships at Springfield College's Art Linkletter Natatorium. FOR THE GAZETTE/SARAH CROSBY

  • Vianka Acosta-McKenzie, of Amherst Regional, swims the breaststroke portion of the girls 200-yard medley relay during the Girls Central/West Swimming and Diving Championships, Sunday at Springfield College’s Art Linkletter Natatorium. The Hurricanes were second. Acosta-McKenzie was also runner-up in the 100 breaststroke. FOR THE GAZETTE/SARAH CROSBY

  • Amherst's Maggie Thibault swims the backstroke portion of the girls 200 yard medley relay Feb. 10 during the 2019 Girls West Central Swimming and Diving Championships at Springfield College's Art Linkletter Natatorium. FOR THE GAZETTE/SARAH CROSBY

Staff Writer
Published: 2/10/2019 10:58:54 PM

SPRINGFIELD — At least a second has traditionally separated Northampton’s Ruby Gottlieb from her 100-yard butterfly competitors at the sectional swimming championships.

The race ended much closer at Sunday’s Central/West Swimming and Diving Championships, but the junior retained her crown at Springfield College. She touched the wall first in 58.89 seconds, the slowest she’s ever swam at sectionals. Gottlieb was also just 0.2 seconds ahead of Minnechaug’s Margaret Petruzzelli.

“I wasn’t very happy with the time, but I was very happy with the race,” Gottlieb said. “I knew they were close.”

Gottlieb didn’t have the same reserve of energy as in previous years because she structured her schedule differently. She swam the 200 individual medley the past two years, but drifted away from the event in favor of the 50 freestyle this year.

“The IM is always an event I was expected to do and I always did it, but I realized I didn’t really like it as much,” Gottlieb said. “I had never really done the 50 free before this season, and I had a really good race in it and was like ‘I’m gonna do it at Western Mass., let’s see how it goes.’”

Gottlieb took fourth in the 50 free in 25.52 seconds, improving her seed time by nearly a second and qualifying for the state meet.

The 50 freestyle was the fourth event on Sunday, while the 100 butterfly was sixth. Diving is held in between, and there’s a long break between the 50 free and 100 fly during a typical dual meet. Diving happens concurrently at the sectional championships, so the competition takes a 15-minute break instead.

“I didn’t quite know how to deal with that turnaround,” Gottlieb said. “The whole time I was like ‘when is the 100 fly?’”

She’ll still swim both events at the state championships Saturday in Boston.

“Next weekend will be difficult,” Northampton coach Sherry Wingfield said. “We all know she can go faster in the 100 fly, so if it all comes together she can do really well.”

Northampton placed eighth with 94 points. Minnechaug won with 352.

Abbie Murphy also reached the podium for the Blue Devils after she placed sixth in the 100 breaststroke (1:12.72). She arrived at the meet late because she had an orchestral performance but still made it in time for her events.

Amherst was sixth, scoring 120. The Hurricanes are made up largely of underclassmen and several middle schoolers.

They started the meet strong with a second-place finish in the 200 medley relay. Maggie Thibault, Vianka Acosta-McKenzie, Lucy Smith and Sophie Schilling hit the wall in 1:56.25. Minnechaug won in 1:50.9.

“They’re only a second off our school record, so I’m hoping at states they get it,” Amherst coach Jennifer Albertine said.

Acosta-McKenzie also finished second in the 100 breaststroke in 1:08.43. She knocked more than two seconds off her seed time.

“I’ve been struggling with an injury for three years now, and it’s just this year that I’m feeling back into it,” Acosta-McKenzie said.

She also was fourth in the 100 fly (1:02.72). Lucy Smith placed sixth (1:03.67).

The Hurricanes’ 400 freestyle relay team of Thibault, Adda Hennessey, Acosta-McKenzie and Smith took sixth (3:52.47).

Belchertown was 10th with 91 points led by Brooke Podsiadlo’s fourth place in the 200 freestyle (2:03.9). She dropped six seconds from her seed time and qualified for the state meet.

Belchertown’s Nicole Beaumont took fifth in the 100 backstroke (1:02.56).

Easthampton’s Saige Harper finished fifth in the 100 freestyle (55.53) and sixth in the 100 backstroke (1:02.56). The Eagles were 17th with 51 points.

Anna Hellyar was 19th in the 100 breaststroke for South Hadley (1:17.9).

Vandergrift ups record

Northampton senior Jordyn Vandergrift closed her western Massachusetts diving career in style. She executed an exceptional forward summersault with two twists for her final dive. It left her with 456.45 points and third place.

“That’s one of my money dives that I typically nail,” Vandergrift said.

The score broke her own school record by more than 20 points.

“That was one of my goals coming into today. I felt I really put everything out there,” she said.

Algonquin’s Lizzie Meschisen won with 475.75 points, while Jessica Tonole of Leominster placed second with 462.15. It’s the second year the meet has featured competitors from both central and western Massachusetts, and both of the divers ahead of Vandergrift were from central Mass.

“Technically she did win Western Mass.,” Northampton diving coach Lou Ann Bierwert said. “She put together an amazing list. I don’t think she should be disappointed at all.”

Easthampton’s Amelia Craig was 10th with 366.7 points.




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