Winter sports preview: Northampton’s Oliver Schalet looking to make waves as defending state champ

  • Oliver Schalet, of Northampton, swims to a first place in the 100-yard butterfly during a meet against Belchertown, Jan. 15 in Belchertown. Schalet is the defending state champion in the 100 freestyle. STAFF PHOTO/JERREY ROBERTS

  • Oliver Schalet, of Northampton, swims the breaststroke in the individual medley during a meet against Belchertown, Tuesday, Jan. 15, 2019 in Belchertown. He took first place. STAFF PHOTO/JERREY ROBERTS

  • Northampton's Ruby Gottlieb swims the 100 yard butterfly Feb. 10 during the 2019 Girls West Central Swimming and Diving Championships at Springfield College's Art Linkletter Natatorium. SARAH CROSBY STAFF PHOTO/SARAH CROSBY

  • Northampton's Ruby Gottlieb swims the 100 yard butterfly Feb. 10 during the 2019 Girls West Central Swimming and Diving Championships at Springfield College's Art Linkletter Natatorium. SARAH CROSBY STAFF PHOTO/SARAH CROSBY

  • Ruby Gottlieb, front, of Northampton, swims the 500-yard freestyle beside Brooke Podsiadlo, of Belchertown, Jan. 15 in Belchertown. Podsiadlo took first; Gottlieb placed second. STAFF PHOTO/JERREY ROBERTS

  • Chris Chumbley, of Belchertown, swims toward a first place in the 100-yard backstroke during a meet against Northampton, Jan. 15 in Belchertown. STAFF PHOTO/JERREY ROBERTS

Staff Writer
Published: 12/13/2019 11:00:27 AM
Modified: 12/13/2019 11:00:15 AM

NORTHAMPTON — Oliver Schalet surprised himself winning a state championship last season.

“It’s still pretty crazy in terms of thinking about what that means,” the Northampton junior said. “It makes me more motivated to swim because I know that now I can do that, so I want to be even better.”

He touched the wall first in the 100-yard freestyle at Boston University after entering the event as the top seed. But it wasn’t his specialty and he wasn’t sure he was at that level. Winning the title showed him what his coaches already knew: Schalet can make waves.

He joined the Bluefish Swim Club at Williston Northampton, leaving the Hampshire Regional YMCA program he’d trained with his whole life to race at a higher level of competition.

“He’s been to a lot of big meets, but he doesn’t have a big head,” Northampton coach Sherry Wingfield said. “He’s going to be such a good leader for our team.”

Schalet is the oldest member of the young team, which brought in eighth graders to bolster its numbers. He’s not much of a rah-rah leader, but he sets the right example.

“I try to do my best in the pool for me so my training is as good as I can make it. If you have other people to push you it’s gonna make you a better swimmer,” Schalet said. “If I can push other people or help them learn, that’d be great.”

Gottlieb going for gold

Northampton senior Ruby Gottlieb is the three-time defending Western Massachusetts champion in the 100 butterfly. The state crown has eluded her, though. She finished second in both 2017 and last season.

“I’ve been really close a bunch of times, and state is definitely a goal of mine,” she said.

As is keeping the sectional crown, but Gottlieb understands the volatility of such a short race.

“There’s more room for a critical error to happen. I love the 100 fly, it’s always been my favorite,” she said. “With swimming it’s a lot of trusting your body to do what it’s trained to do. I want to swim loose and not get too tight and excited.”

Fellow senior Abbie Murphy also swims the 100 fly and appreciates the chance to test herself against Gottlieb every day in practice.

“Ruby is a powerhouse. For me it’s been good to have somebody to challenge me or to try and catch in practice,” Murphy said. “Having Ruby there was been great to push me and motivate me and she’s a great friend and a great teammate to have.”

Chumbley leads Orioles

Belchertown senior Chris Chumbley, a Fairfield commit, grabbed two silver medals at last season’s state championships. He also placed second in two individual events at the Central/West Championships and anchored the Orioles’ champion 200 and 400 freestyle relays. Chumbley has his sights set on individual gold this season and is at the head of a youth movement in Belchertown. The Orioles finished third in the sectional meet with a team filled with underclassmen talent.

Every member of Belchertown’s two championship relays returns.

Individually, Nathan Dragon took second in the 500 freestyle. Matthew Stelmokas was third in the 200 individual medley and sixth in the 100 free.

Top returners

Amherst Regional junior Vianka Acosta-McKenzie took fourth in the Central/West girls 100 fly, while the Hurricanes placed second in the 200 medley relay. Three of those four swimmers are back.

Belchertown’s Brooke Podsiadlo finished fourth in the 200 freestyle, while Nicole Beaumont was fifth in the 100 backstroke.

Saige Harper of Easthampon was fifth in the 100 free and sixth in the 100 back.

GIRLS SWIMMING & DIVING

Amherst Regional

COACH: Jennifer Albertine, fourth year

LEAGUE: Patriot

LAST YEAR’S RECORD: 6-6

2019 CENTRAL/WEST CHAMPIONSHIP: sixth

ROSTER: Seniors — Vianka Acosta-McKenzie, Cody Cousland, Noelle Karlovich; Junior — AnnaMaria Biagi; Sophomores — Sara Baxter, Adda Hennessey, Eve Lanzafame, Simone Robinson; Freshmen — Grace Johnson, Sieun Park, Lucy Smith, Kaelyn Zakaitis; Eighth grade — Aurora Donta-Venman, Jayce Lanzafame, Alexis Selig; Seventh grade — Sadie Cyr, Sylvie DiBartolomeo, Mya Schattin;

OUTLOOK: Acosta-McKenzie reached the podium in the 100-yard butterfly at the sectional meet and qualified for states. Three out of four members of the Hurricanes’ silver-medalist sectional 200 medley relay are back. Smith placed in the top-10 in two Central/West events as an eighth grader. Greater depth will give the Hurricanes a boost.

Belchertown

COACH: Nick Provost, sixth year

LEAGUE: Minuteman

LAST YEAR’S RECORD: 5-5

2019 CENTRAL/WEST CHAMPIONSHIP: 10th

SWIMMERS: Seniors — Nicole Beaumont, Casey Gormley, Ava Laporte, Hannah Mitus, Brooke Podsiadlo, Katherine Wrona; Junior — Kaleigh Cooper; Sophomores — Haley Bronson, Allyson Linkenhoker, Elyssa Wrona; Freshmen — Chelsea Bachmann, Safaiya Hassan, Paige Lacroix, Alannah Lavoie, Stefania Mayo, Lauren Morris, Abigail Olden, Natalie Shaw, Marie Williems; Eighth grade — Emma Withers;

OUTLOOK: Provost is back to lead the program after a year way. Podsiadlo and Beaumont competed in two individual events each at the state meet. Podsiadlo was fourth in the 200 free at the Central/West championships, while Beaumont was fifth in the 100 backstroke. Belchertown’s top-10 200 medley and 400 free relays return intact.

Easthampton

CO-OP: Hampshire Regional

COACH: Carla Soutra, 24th year

LEAGUE: Patriot

LAST YEAR’S RECORD: 8-4

2019 CENTRAL/WEST CHAMPIONSHIP: 17th

RETURNING SWIMMERS: Seniors — Amelia Craig, Saige Harper; Juniors — MacKenzie Bates, Elizabeth Bronson, Samantha Chapman, Adriena Drejsa, Chelsea Indyk, Haley Nimmons, Jessie Paradis-Stern, Zoe Paradis-Stern, Jillian Scott, Elizabeth Winberg.

NEWCOMERS: Juniors — Eliza Reynolds, Courtney Ross; Sophomores — Adele Lashway, Annabella Zammotti; Freshmen — Amelia Fiordalice, Kathryn Geertsma, Elaina Geoghegan, Natalia Robak, Natalie Vigue.

OUTLOOK: Harper reached the podium twice at the sectional championships and competed at the state meet. Craig cracked the top 10 on the diving board at both championship meets. Eagles also sent a 200 freestyle relay to states.

Holyoke

COACH: Brian Cannon, first year

LEAGUE: Constitution

LAST YEAR’S RECORD: 3-6

2019 CENTRAL/WEST CHAMPIONSHIP: Did not compete

SWIMMERS: Nora Balicki, Samantha Brennan, Charlotte Brunette, Miranda Brunette, Julia Cahill, Emma Dominiquez, Melina Garcia, Melody Houle, Acadia Joniec, Valeria Lozado, Erin O’Donnel

OUTLOOK: No Purple Knights swimmers qualified for last season’s sectional meet. Cannon is taking over as the program’s head coach after being an assistant last year.

Northampton

COACH: Sherry Wingfield (swimming), second year; Lou Ann Bierwert (diving), fifth

LEAGUE: Minuteman

LAST YEAR’S RECORD: 6-4

2019 CENTRAL/WEST CHAMPIONSHIP: Eighth

RETURNING SWIMMERS: Seniors — Ruby Gottlieb (fly, IM), Emily House (back, free), Abbie Murphy (IM, fly); Juniors — Alexa Abild (diving), Anna Chapdelaine (diving), Cecelia Ripley (free, IM); Sophomores — Emily DelVecchio (back, IM), Kailey Murphy (diving), Camille Richmond (IM, free), Fiona Tischler (free, back)

NEWCOMERS: Seniors — Jett Duval; Juniors — Maddy Haines, Frida Karney-Dunetz; Freshmen — Sophie Barber, Cayly Fishbein, Eliza Fleming, Asha Kulp.

OUTLOOK: Additional depth will aid the Blue Devils in scoring both at dual meets and in championships. Gottlieb is a three-time defending 100-yard butterfly sectional champion. Northampton will benefit from having three divers, as well.

South Hadley

CO-OP: Granby

COACH: Meghan Haber, fourth year

LEAGUE: Patriot

LAST YEAR’S RECORD: 6-6

2019 CENTRAL/WEST CHAMPIONSHIP: n/a

SWIMMERS: Seniors — Reese Carey, Olivia Geitz, Moira McDermott, Sydney Mercier, Corryn Moroney, Emily Remillard; Juniors — Catherine DeRosambeau, Madison Matro, Molly Menard; Sophomores — Dana Chateaneuf, Caitlyn Ouellette, Zoe Thomas; Freshmen — Eva Bartosz, Kate Coriveau, Reese McKenzie, Madison Mendoza, Sasha Plotniak, Trinity Roy; Eighth grade — Madison Bombard;

OUTLOOK: All of the Tigers who qualified for the sectional meet return and will have more backup. South Hadley’s 200 medley relay and 200 freestyle relay both made the top 20.

BOYS SWIMMING & DIVING

Amherst Regional

COACH: Jennifer Albertine, fourth year

LEAGUE: Patriot

LAST YEAR’S RECORD: 3-9

2019 CENTRAL/WEST CHAMPIONSHIP: n/a

ROSTER: Seniors —Noah Labich, Alvin Li, Davide Rotunno; Junior — Cade Lanzafame; Freshmen — Richard Guerron, Daniel Hosp, Jay Johnson, Jacob Laney, Eric Lian, Evander Maradiaga, Callum McDonald, Orion Waldman; Eighth grade — Ellias Forbes; Seventh grade — Grant Donta-Venman, Max Elkin, Tobias Kuhn, Lobsang Lama, Junior Ramsey;

OUTLOOK: No Hurricanes qualified for the state meet last season, but the Hurricanes qualified all three relays for the Central/West qualifiers. Amherst will hope its added numbers lead to more dual meet and championship success.

Belchertown

COACH: Matthew Quinney, first year

LEAGUE: Minuteman

LAST YEAR’S RECORD: 8-2

2019 CENTRAL/WEST CHAMPIONSHIP: Third

SWIMMERS: Jacob Bresnahan, Christopher Chumbley, Andrew Cowles, Nathan Dragon, Damon Drury, Peter Elias, Aidan Endress, Evan Harrington, Samuel Hunt, Logan Lacroix, Andrew Marshall, Christopher Misiaszek, Jacob Murch, Brady Perkins, Zachary Rodrigues, Forrest Sherson, Kagan Sherson, Matthew Stelmokas, Zachary Stowe-Alekman, Raghav Suryanarayanan, Chanon Thumjaratwong, Karl Underwood, Nathan Wheeler, Andre Withers;

OUTLOOK: Quinney holds several school records for the Orioles and has a lot to teach as he takes over the coaching role. Chumbley earned three silver medals and a bronze at the state meet. The Orioles return every member from two sectional champion relays. They sent eight swimmers to states.

Easthampton

CO-OP: Hampshire Regional

COACH: Carla Soutra, 24th year

LEAGUE: Patriot

LAST YEAR’S RECORD: 1-11

2019 CENTRAL/WEST CHAMPIONSHIP: n/a

RETURNING SWIMMER: Senior — Chris Vayda.

OUTLOOK: Vayda qualified for the sectional meet in both the 200 and 500 freestyle events.

Holyoke

COACH: Brian Cannon, first year

LEAGUE: Constitution

LAST YEAR’S RECORD: 0-9

2019 CENTRAL/WEST CHAMPIONSHIP: n/a

SWIMMERS: Jose Roman, Greyson Stark.

OUTLOOK: The Purple Knights are recruiting within the school to try and bolster their numbers.

Northampton

COACH: Sherry Wingfield (swimming), second year; Lou Ann Bierwert (diving), fifth

LEAGUE: Minuteman

LAST YEAR’S RECORD: 1-9

2019 CENTRAL/WEST CHAMPIONSHIP: 10th

RETURNING SWIMMERS: Junior — Oliver Schalet; Sophomores — Henry Bayne (diving), Miguel Warton;

NEWCOMERS: Junior — Anthony Azzaro; Freshmen — Calvin Cote-L’Heureux (diving); Eighth grade — Theodore Bayne, Jameson Lavallee, Jackson Mattison-Gulotta.

OUTLOOK: Bringing in eighth graders has bolstered the Blue Devils’ depth. Schalet is a defending state champion in the 100 freestyle and earned two silver medals at the sectional championships. The team has divers for the first time in a few years, which will help scoring.

South Hadley

CO-OP: Granby

COACH: Meghan Haber, fourth year

LEAGUE: Patriot

LAST YEAR’S RECORD: 3-9

2019 CENTRAL/WEST CHAMPIONSHIP: 26th

SWIMMERS: Senior — Eric Bergeron; Junior — Joseph Menard; Freshmen — Griffin Funk; Brady Pete;

OUTLOOK: The Tigers Central/West representatives William Gagne and John Parenteau graduated, leaving South Hadley to start over. South Hadley can fill a relay with its roster.




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