Pierson sophomore Jack Duryea was named Swimmer of the Meet in a season-defining win over Hauppauge on January 10, which was the same day two school records fell in the pool at the YMCA in East Hampton.
Depth, it seems, is the Bonackers’ greatest gift of all.
The East Hampton boys swim team secured its first-ever League II championship with an 89-79 victory over previously unbeaten Hauppauge in their home pool last Thursday, which they followed with a 91-77 win over Sayville/Bayport in their final home meet of the season on Monday.
The Bonackers were expected to beat West Islip in their last dual meet of the season on Wednesday after press time, which would mean the team’s first-ever undefeated season. With a stacked font line led by senior Ethan McCormac, who set school records in the 200- and 100-yard freestyles against Hauppauge, the Bonackers are a match for most teams. It’s their balance and depth, however, with a roster stacked with talent from top to bottom, that has made them league champions for the time in program history.
“It’s huge,” head coach Craig Brierley said about his team, which often scores critical team points with second-, third-, fourth- and fifth-place finishes across all the events. “It’s the difference between winning and losing. A lot of teams have talented swimmers on their front lines, but if you don’t have the depth, you’re not going to win. It’s imperative that the guys know they’re all important.”
Brierley and his team knew they were up against strong competition against Hauppauge on Monday. In the first event, the Bonackers lost the 200 medley relay for the first time all season, but they took second and third to stay close. Then in the 200 freestyle, McCormac dropped the hammer with a spectacular swim and a time of 1:42.86, which was a new school record. Later in the meet, McCormac swam a 47.56 in the 100 freestyle to win that event and set his second school record of the day.
“He’s highly motivated,” Brierley said about his senior captain. “I see it often, especially with seniors. They realize this is it. This is the end of high school and it’s a big motivational factor.”
Pierson senior Ryan Duryea, another team captain, finished second in the 50 freestyle, with Pierson’s Joey Badilla also finishing second in the 200 IM. His younger brother, Nicky, was second in the 100 butterfly, and following those three events, even despite the second-place finishes by the Pierson swimmers, East Hampton led, 40-38.
Jack Duryea, Ryan’s younger brother, “stole” points in the match as he finished higher than expected in his events, another example of the team’s resilience and strength across its entire lineup. Despite a full lineup of events, Jack anchored the team’s second-place finish in the 200 freestyle relay, which essentially iced the victory for East Hampton.
“There were many wonderful things that happened at this meet and Jack’s willingness to step up for his team was one the captains called out,” Brierley explained later.
In the end, 18 swimmers swam personal-best times for East Hampton, including Jack Duryea, whose time of 24.71 in the 50 freestyle as part of the 200 relay was his best ever. Ryan Duryea also set personal-bests in the relays in both the 50 breaststroke and 50 freestyle.
“These seniors, they’ve been fantastic,” said Brierley, who honored Duryea and McCormac, along with their fellow seniors Ryan Bahel, Thor Botero, Ramses Jimenez, Kenny Sanchez, Luke Tyrell and Jordan Uribe at the meet on Monday. “They set the example of what’s expected.”
With the regular season now complete, the Bonackers will turn their focus to the championship meets starting with the League II meet on January 31 at Hauppauge High School. The Section XI Championships will be held on February 9 at Suffolk County Community College in Brentwood and the New York State meet is March 1.