Watch out next year, Lennon LaBelle says.
“Mark my words, I’m going to do it,” he said.
The Lewiston junior didn’t have the 2017-18 swimming season that he hoped, but that only sparked a fire for next year.
“The turnout of the season motivated me for the summer,” LaBelle said. “I’m changing my whole diet plan, I’m getting in the gym, working out, which is something I didn’t do last summer.”
LaBelle’s disappointment stems from not improving on, but essentially still matching his sophomore campaign. He still had a solid season and one that is more than worthy of earning the Sun Journal All-Region boys’ swimmer of the year for the second year in a row.
Lewiston coach Troy Boutin said it isn’t uncommon to follow up a stellar season, such as LaBelle had as a sophomore, with a “slightly off season.”
“He worked hard,” Boutin said. “What I was most pleased with in regards to Lennon this season is that he consistently lowered his times over the course of the season. When he hadn’t achieved the drops that he had hoped a little past midway, he really buckled down and stepped up his game.”
LaBelle still had two individual top-10s, along with two relay top-10s, at the Class A state championships. He took ninth in the 100 butterfly, and in his signature event, the 100 backstroke, he placed fourth.
“I am grateful that I made the top-eight in the back stroke because it’s my favorite event, my best event,” LaBelle said.
He also was able to serve as a captain, which he says was his highlight of the season.
Detrimental to Lewiston’s success this season was that the YWCA pool closed for three weeks. LaBelle’s season also was hampered when the Auburn YMCA pool — where the Twin City Swim Team trains — was shut down in November.
“This year was more of a mental challenge than it was a physical challenge.”
Spurred by this year’s results, LaBelle has already started preparing to do better his senior season, when his goals are to again be a national qualifier, finish in the top-two in the 100 back and break 53 seconds in the event.
“I’m going to get stronger, more lean, and they’re not going to see me coming,” he said.