Despite not having any divers to compete in the League II Championship Meet on Thursday, January 31, the East Hampton boys swim team still came out on top, outlasting rival Hauppauge and six other teams to win the overall title.
The Bonackers, who include a stable of talented swimmers from Pierson, finished with 298 points, compared to 277 for Hauppauge. Savyille/Bayport-Blue Point was third with 236 points, followed by Northport (190), West Islip (138), Deer Park (92), North Babylon (67) and Lindenhurst (36).
“Our approach to this meet was no different than any other meet,” East Hampton head coach Craig Brierley said later. “The boys are asked to control what they can control, to give their absolute best and to compete like their heart is on fire.”
The Bonackers went into the diving portion of the meet, which they don’t compete in since there is not a diving facility at their home pool at the YMCA East Hampton RECenter, with a substantial lead of 23 points. By the time the diving was over, East Hampton trailed Haupppauge by five.
“Each year we face this meet with the intention of somehow finding a way to overcome the diving points and shock our competitors, and this year was no different,” Brierley said.
The Bonackers reclaimed the lead in the very next event, the 100-yard butterfly, with three Pierson swimmers — Colin Harrison, Nicky Badilla and Kevin Pineda — earning points after finishing fourth, fifth and eighth, respectively. East Hampton senior Ethan McCormac then came out and won the 100 freestyle, as he had done earlier in the 200 freestyle, to pad his team’s lead. The Bonackers also won the 200 freestyle relay, with Pierson senior Ryan Duryea swimming first, followed by Harrison and Owen and Ethan McCormac. Pierson’s Joey Badilla finished second in the 100 backstroke to earn 13 points, and Duryea was second in the 100 breaststroke to do the same. In the end, the team’s depth was too much for its opponents to surmount.
“The boys really demonstrated what their training prepares them to do,” Brierley said. “To compete against an opponent and reach for the greatest heights together.”
Next up is the Section XI Championship meet at Suffolk County Community College in Brentwood on Saturday, February 9. The Bonackers will be represented by Harrison, Joey and Nicky Badilla, Ryan and Jack Duyea and Fernando Menjura, who qualified in the 100 freestyle at last week’s league championship meet.