Boy Swimmers Are League Meet Champs Too
For the first time since the program began here in 2010, an East Hampton High School boys swimming team is a two-time champion, not only in the regular season, which it sailed through at 7-0 (9-0), but also in the postseason League II meet, which took place last Thursday at Suffolk Community College-Brentwood.
Usually diving has proved to be the stumbling block at the league championship meet — East Hampton has no divers — but not this year. The second-place team, Hauppauge, won 27 points in diving and still trailed the Bonackers 298-277 at the end.
East Hampton’s superior depth was in evidence the entire way, with three swimmers scoring in the 200-yard individual medley, the 50 freestyle, the 100 butterfly, the 100 free, and in the 100 backstroke.
The tipping point, East Hampton’s coach, Craig Brierley, said, came midway through the 12-event competition, after Hauppauge, as aforesaid, had earned 27 points in diving to take the lead at 121-117.
“The boys were actually very encouraged by this,” Brierley said in an emailed account, “though they knew they had a lot of hard work ahead of them to outscore a talented Hauppauge team. . . . In the next event, the 100 butterfly, Colin Harrison, Nicky Badilla, and Kevin Pineda took fourth, fifth, and eighth [the top 12 in each event were scored] to put us up 143-135. From that point on, we never trailed again. In the end, our boys put up 18 lifetime personal best times, and if an athlete didn’t do a best time he was very close to it.”
“The boys really demonstrated what their training prepares them to do,” Brierley continued. “Which is to compete with fire in their hearts . . . they reach for the greatest heights together. . . . It was a wonderful experience, and Coach Brian [Cunningham] and I are
so happy for the boys and the program.”
East Hampton, as aforesaid, won the meet with 298 points, followed by Hauppauge (277), Sayville-Bayport-Blue Point (236), Northport (190), West Islip (138), Deer Park (92), North Babylon (67), and Lindenhurst (36).
Ethan McCormac, who has qualified for the state meet in four events, won the 200-yard freestyle, won the 100-yard free, and anchored the winning 200 free relay team that included Ryan Duryea, Harrison, and Owen McCormac. Ethan McCormac also anchored East Hampton’s second-place 400 free relay team, which included Fernando Menjura, Edward Hoff, and Aidan Forst.
Other runners-up were Joey Badilla, in the 100 backstroke, and Ryan Duryea, in the 100 breaststroke.
Third-place finishers were the 200 medley relay team of Joey Badilla, Jack Duryea, Harrison, and Owen McCormac; Ryan Duryea in the 200 individual medley, and Owen McCormac in the 50 free.
East Hampton’s depth was particularly evident in the 200 individual medley, with Ryan Duryea placing third, Joey Badilla fifth, and Tenzin Tamang ninth; in the 50 free, with Owen McCormac third, Harrison fourth, and Thor Botero sixth; in the aforementioned 100 butterfly, with Harrison fourth, Nicky Badilla fifth, and Pineda eighth; in the 100 free, with Ethan McCormac first, Hoff fourth, and Jack Duryea sixth, and in the 100 back, with Joey Badilla second, Ryan Bahel sixth, and Luke Tyrell ninth.
Tyrell, a senior, was to share swimmer of the meet honors afterward for having made the county cut in the backstroke, a goal he’d pursued for two seasons.
“When, in his final attempt of the season, Luke touched the wall under the qualifying time, his teammates roared because they knew how hard he had worked for it,” Coach Brierley said.
Forst too was named swimmer of the meet by the captains for having contributed 56 points as the result of his season-best leg in the 200 free relay, his fifth-place finish in the 500 free, and his lifetime-best leg in the 400 free relay.
Besides Tyrell, Menjura, a Pierson sophomore, also recorded a county-qualifying time in the 100 freestyle, leading off the 400 free relay with a 52.78 leg.
Brierley and Cunningham are to take 14 members of their 31-man squad to the county meet this Saturday at Suffolk Community College-Brentwood. The group, which comprises Ethan McCormac, Forst, Hoff, Ryan Duryea, Joey Badilla, Botero, Harrison, Owen McCormac, Nicky Badilla, Tamang, Jack Duryea, Menjura, Ryan Bahel, and Tyrell, will compete in all the swimming events.