Wiktoria Kaczor, Ruby Gottlieb take home individual swimming titles at West/Central Championships

  • Belchertown's Nicole Beaumont (left) and Aubrey Endress (right), join Northampton's Abbie Murphy (second from left) and Ruby Gottlieb (third from right) on the podium after the 100-yard butterfly at the West/Central Championships, Sunday at Springfield College. Gottlied was first, followed by Endress (fifth), Murphy (sixth) and Beaumont (eighth). HELEN LUCAS



  • Nicole Beaumont, of Belchertown, stands on the podium after placing fourth in the 100-yard backstroke at the West/Central Championships, Sunday at Springfield College. HELEN LUCAS


For the Gazette
Monday, February 12, 2018

SPRINGFIELD — Going into the West/Central Girls Swimming & Diving Championships Sunday morning, the top four swimmers in the 100-yard breaststroke were all within 0.38 seconds of each other.

After a close finish, Belchertown’s Wiktoria Kaczor left a champion, Sunday at Springfield College.

“I was a little nervous but I was like ‘keep it to yourself, keep it long, try your hardest, don’t worry about them,’” Kaczor said.

After Kaczor pulled ahead in the final turn, Minnechaug’s Margaret Petruzzelli started to close in during the final yards of the race.

“I was like ‘I think I have this just make sure she doesn’t catch up and you got this,’” Kaczor said.

Following Petruzzelli was Vianka Acosta-McKenzie, of Amherst Regional, who finished third.

Minnechaug won the meet with a score of 313 points, while Belchertown finished sixth with 141.

Northampton finished ninth with 125 points. Amherst was 12th (78), while Easthampton tied for 13th (69). South Hadley tied for 22nd (11).

The meet included teams from central Massachusetts for the first time. Westborough was third (163.5).

The Blue Devils were led by sophomore Ruby Gottlieb, who won the 100 butterfly with a time of 57.86, which was over two seconds faster than the second-place finisher.

“It feels really good,” Gottlieb said. “I was nervous last year I won, but now that they merged more teams I was a little bit nervous, so it felt really good to do it again.”

Gottlieb’s teammate Abbie Murphy finished sixth with a time of 1:02.29. Murphy was also sixth in the 100 butterfly (1:02.29).

“We train together so we can push each other,” Gottlieb said. “We push each other in practice so it was great to be able to push each other in a race.”

Gottlieb also finished third in the 200 individual medley with a time of 2:14.78.

“200 IM isn’t my race so I was excited that I went a best time in that so I was going off of feeling good in the 200 IM and being able to feel good in the 100 fly,” Gottlieb said.

Easthampton’s Saige Harper finished sixth in the 200 IM in 2:19.62, which is just under three seconds faster than her seeded time. Harper also finished fifth in the 100 freestyle with a time of 56.16, which was over two seconds faster than he seeded time.

“I think that I wanted it and it made me want to push myself even further and get what I wanted,” Harper said.

The Amherst Regional 200 freestyle relay of Acosta-McKenzie, Sophie Schilling, Lucy Smith and Maggie Thibault finished sixth with a time of 1:46.16

In the 200 medley relay, Nicole Beaumont, Kaczor, Aubrey Endress and Katherine Wrona finished third in 1:55.28 for Belchertown.

Endress, Wrona, Beaumont and Brooke Podsiadlo were sixth (3:54.67) in the 400 free relay for the Orioles.

Beaumont placed fourth in the 100 backstroke (1:01.83), while Endress was fifth in the 100 butterfly (1:01.82).