Two relay victories boost Belchertown to third place at West/Central Boys Swimming & Diving Championships

  • Belchertown junior Chris Chumbley is shown after the Centra/West Boys Swimming & Diving Championships, Sunday at Springfield College. EVAN WHEATON

For the Gazette
Published: 2/10/2019 10:27:28 PM

SPRINGFIELD — By the end of the 500-yard freestyle at the West/Central Boys Swimming & Diving championships, the top three swimmers had shaved off nearly 10 seconds from their seeded times.

Belchertown sophomore Nathan Dragon placed second in 4 minutes, 58.09 seconds and was in great spirits after his performance.

“It felt great, honestly,” Dragon said. “Coming into the meet I felt really good coming off of my taper. I had a good almost week and a half of taper and it felt really good because earlier in the season I wasn’t able to swim for many high school meets because I was sick for a while. It was just a great way to come back to this.”

Dragon’s performance carried immediately into the 200 freestyle relay where he swam the first leg. Dragon was joined by Matthew Stelmokas, Kagan Sherson and Chris Chumbley and the relay finished first in 1:31.68. The victory was narrow as Longmeadow finished just 0.11 seconds later.

“Honestly the team mentality was great going into it,” Dragon said. “I just wanted to keep the momentum going from my 500 right into the 200 free relay and all my teammates right there with me, we were all able to get really fast times. We just fed off of each other and we make ourselves go faster everyday.”

Dragon led off the closing 400 free relay and was followed by Aidan Endress Stelmokas and Chumbley. The group won the event in 3:18.37 to cap a third-place finish for the Orioles.

Belchertown finished with 249 points. Longmeadow (282.5) was first followed by Minnechaug (275).

Dragon, Chumbley and Stelmokas had strong individual performances.

Chumbley placed second in the 200 freestyle in 1:45.45 and was followed by Dragon in third (1:48.58). Minnechaug’s Chase Konstantakos won in 1:41.74.

The event was difficult for Chumbley, but he managed to figure it out and finish strong.

“I was satisfied with it, definitely,” Chumbley said. “On the second 25 I choked on water so that kind of pulled my mood down a little bit, but then I just put my head down and grinded so I could get that good time.”

Chumbley also placed second in the 100 butterfly to Westborough’s Justin Papagelis (51.80). Chumbley took almost 2.5 seconds off his seed time with a 52.54 finish. Endress finished in sixth place (55.30) in the 100 fly and fifth in the 100 backstroke (57.31).

Stelmokas added a third-place finish in the 200 individual medley in 2:04.81. He was also sixth in the 100 free (51.18).

Evan Harrington, of Belchertown, was seventh in the 500 free (5:10.59).

Northampton sophomore Oliver Schalet placed second in two events. Schalet was runner-up in the 200 IM in 2:02.30. Eric Eastham, of West Springfield, won in 1:56.0. Schalet was second in the 100 free (48.04) to Konstantakos (47.10).

“I was nervous honestly but I knew that I was going to have some good races and I was going to have some really good people to race,” Schalet said. “I took this as a really good learning experience in terms of racing and in terms of seeing how far I can push myself. I went into it just saying ‘I want to go as fast as I can’ and I felt like I did that and I’m really happy with how I swam.”

Northampton’s 200 freestyle relay of Brendan McBride, Asa Geller, Dan White, and Schalet finished ninth in 1:36.22.

McBride added a 10th place in the 100 freestyle (51.87) for the Blue Devils, who finished in 10th place with 78 points.

William Gagne was 10th in the 100 breaststroke (1:05.94) for South Hadley.

Chris Vayda, of Easthampton, missed placing in the 500 (5:29.14) by less than two seconds.




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