Bonac Swimmers Have Exciting Week

Lady Bonackers cheer their teammate on as she makes the turn as the East Hampton Lady Bonackers competed against West Islip at the East Hampton Rec Center on Thursday, 3/18/21

The East Hampton/Pierson/Bridgehampton girls swim team faced a bit of a scare when it traveled to Deer Park High School to face West Babylon in a League III match on March 24.

After completing the 500-yard freestyle, East Hampton senior captain Caroline Brown exited the pool and had difficulty breathing, gasping for air. An ambulance was called to the school to administer oxygen for Brown to help get her breathing under control.

East Hampton head coach Craig Brierley said the incident occurred due to the pool temperature being higher than expected to compete safely in. The 200-yard freestyle relay was competed after the incident, but the match was stopped afterward “in order to prevent any more potential adverse events,” Brierley said.

Brown is okay, Brierley added, and will return to the team when she’s ready.

It put a bit of a damper on what was an overall solid meet for the Bonackers (2-1 in League III, 3-2 overall), who went on to win handily, 88-27, over what Brierley said was a shorthanded West Babylon team that only had about 10 girls.

“We were able to use this meet as an opportunity to challenge many of our swimmers with different events, and we were also able to have many of the girls swim additional events to what they were accustomed to, all in an effort to test them and get them out of their comfort zones to help them prepare for challenges that may lie ahead,” Brierley said. “Our girls took on their respective challenges admirably and were able to take first place in six of the first eight events.”

As they typically do, the captains of the team chose Swimmers of the Meet. They decided to go with two: East Hampton sophomore Maddie Elflein and freshman Ruby Tyrrell.

Both swimmers have been working hard in both practice and meets, Brierley said, and continue to show support for their teammates. Tyrrell has been handling the backstroke in the medley relay and the freestyle in the free relays and continues to improve her times, Brierley said.

The girls did suffer a pair of losses in the past week. They most recently lost at Sayville/Bayport, 96-78, on Monday, but also lost a very close and exciting non-league match, 86-84, to Commack/Northport back on March 22.

East Hampton and Commack tied one another five different times in that meet, and seven of the events had races decided within one second. Northport’s Ruby Nolan (24.70 seconds) edged East Hampton sophomore Summer Jones (24.79), with just 0.09 of a second deciding the 50-yard freestyle. Both finished under the New York State Meet qualifying time, although there are no state meets this season.

Pierson’s Kiara Bailey-Williams after finishing the the 200 Yard Individual Medley as the East Hampton Lady Bonackers competed against West Islip at the East Hampton Rec Center on Thursday, 3/18/21

East Hampton junior Cami Hatch came from behind to win the 100-yard freestyle by 0.02 of a second, and East Hampton finished the 400-yard freestyle relay just 0.09 of a second behind Pierson after what Brierley said was a “monster effort” by Pierson senior Kiara Bailey-Williams, who swam the anchor leg of the race.

Both Jones and Hatch were named Swimmers of the Meet by team captains. Her 50 free time is third-fastest in the county, according to Brierley, and she dropped eight seconds off her 500 free time — she won the race — and led off the winning 400 free relay team.

“In Jones’s first year as a varsity swimmer, she has quickly flexed her muscle and shined in many of her events,” Brierley said.

Hatch won the 100 free, in a personal-best 57.60 seconds, and then stepped in for a teammate in one of the relays.

“As Cami was consoling with that teammate, the other girls called for her to fill in on the relay, and Cami did not hesitate,” Brierley said. “She anchored that relay, [posting] a best split time, helping the team to a second-place finish.

“That was an unselfish display that is a reflection of what this year’s team has to offer. Every person willing to do whatever is needed to help the team be successful.”