A wave of energy shot through the warm, humid air at the YMCA East Hampton RECenter last Thursday, January 23, as members of the East Hampton boys swim team entered the pool area to close out their second straight undefeated League II season.
The potential of adding another championship banner to a growing collection of triumphs by the boys and girls swim teams over the last several years brought out an army of friends and family who packed the stands for one final home meet.
And they were not disappointed by the final result.
East Hampton, which includes swimmers from Pierson and Bridgehampton, downed Sayville/Bayport-Blue Point, 97-68, to finish the regular season with a perfect 7-0 league record.
The Bonackers finished 7-1-1 overall and now will prepare for the postseason meets. They will compete in the League II Championship meet on Thursday, January 30, at Hauppauge High School at 4:15 p.m.
“We now look toward week 12, and the team continuing to grow together and tighten the bond that makes a team a family,” East Hampton head coach Craig Brierley said as the regular season came to a close, measuring the weeks, as he often does, in terms of individual progress and training regiments for his young swimmers.
“They are being challenged each practice, each repetition, to focus and improve on their racing skills. And based upon the recent meets, they are responding very well,” he said. “The ultimate goal is to peak them for the upcoming championship meets.”
Prior to the meet against Sayville, the Bonackers honored six seniors for their commitment to the team, including East Hampton’s Miles Coppola, Aidan Forst, Callum Menelaws and Will Midson, along with Pierson’s Conor Flanagan and Gabriel Ramundo.
Going into the meet, Sayville was in third place behind Hauppauge, but it was clear early on that the Bonackers would run away with a victory. In the first event, East Hampton took first and third in the 200-yard medley relay and then swept the 200 freestyle before dominating every event aside from the 500 freestyle, which ended with the teams scoring eight points apiece.
Forst, a team captain who has been with the team for five years, qualified for the Section XI Championship meet with a winning time of 1:57.95 in the 200 freestyle. Forst said later that swimming at East Hampton has meant “everything” to him.
“I don’t know what I would do without it,” he said after celebrating the league title with his teammates. “We have a great team, great coaches and I’m so glad I swam here for five years.”
Forst and his fellow captains chose to give the Swimmer of the Meet honor to Pierson junior Colin Harrison, who recorded best times in all three of his events, including the 100 butterfly.
“The captains wanted Colin to be aware that they appreciate his efforts in all that he does to make our team better both in and out of the water,” Brierley said.
Joining Harrison with personal best times against Sayville were Flanagan, Ramundo, Coppola, Fernando Menjura, Sebastian Gomez, Daniel Piver, Tenzin Tamang, Curran O’Donnell, Owen McCormac, Nicky Badilla, Christian Gaines, Alex Hatgistavrou, Kai Esposito, Chase Leider, Joey Badilla, Jack Duryea, Edward Hoff, Charlie Weimar and Colin Tyrrell.
Following the League II Championship meet, a select few will swim at the Section XI Swimming Championships at Suffolk County Community College in Brentwood on February 8 at 10 a.m.