The East Hampton/Pierson/Bridgehampton boys swimming team had its best season in program history a year ago. After going undefeated to win the League II regular season title, the Bonackers won the League II Championship meet, placed second at the Section XI Championships and qualified six swimmers for the state meet, all program bests.
After last season, the Bonackers lost a number of swimmers to graduation, including, arguably, its most decorated in Ethan McCormac, who is now swimming at Marist College.
Key swimmers in Ryan Duryea, Ryan Bahel, Thor Botero, Ramses Jimenez, Avery Martinsen, Kenny Sanchez, Luke Tyrell and Jordan Uribe also graduated, leaving some key positions to fill.
But four of the six who qualified for states — East Hampton’s Aidan Forst, Owen McCormac and Colin Harrison and Pierson’s Fernando Menjura — have all returned, and with a number other key returners, such as Pierson’s Joey and Nicholas Badilla and Jack Duryea and East Hampton’s Tenzin Tamang, the Bonackers are primed for another solid season.
East Hampton head coach Craig Brierley said the goals and expectations remain the same as in years past: “To control what they can control, doing their absolute best every day, and see where that takes them.”
East Hampton got its season underway last week with a pair of non-league matches, starting on December 3 at returning county champion Half Hollow Hills, which has actually won the past 13 consecutive county titles. Hills proved it’s still a powerhouse by defeating East Hampton, 106-69, but Brierley said all of his swimmers battled and put up some personal bests.
Tamang was chosen by team captains as the Swimmer of the Meet for competing in, and scoring in, both the 200-yard individual medley and 500-yard freestyle. He then followed that up by finishing the lead-off leg of the 400-yard freestyle relay with a personal best. Brierley said Tamang’s performance in the relay, “inspired the other three in the relay to dominate the event to finish in first place.”
East Hampton hosted its second non-league meet on Thursday, December 5, at the ReCenter against Connetquot. The meet was highly competitive and included a few lead changes, and it came down to the final event of the day to decide it all — but that never happened. Connetquot outscored East Hampton, 10-4, in the 400 free relay to create a tie, 85-85.
“It was a very exciting finish with so much energy from both teams and the fans that made it a meet to remember,” Brierley said.
East Hampton’s Curran O’Donnell was selected as Swimmer of the Meet. O’Donnell dropped more than four seconds from his personal best in the 100-yard breaststroke and placed second in the event, which gave the Bonackers the lead going into the final event. He also had personal bests in his legs of the 200 medley and 200 free relays.
East Hampton also held its annual Maroon vs. Gray Meet on Saturday. Brierley was surprised by how much energy his swimmers had after two tough meets just days prior, but they competed well, and it ended in another tie.
“It is always nice to see our team supporting each other and growing together in a positive, competitive environment,” he said. “Afterwards, the breakfast organized by the parents was fantastic. It is a nice way for parents, coaches and athletes to mingle and get to know each other better. Thank you to our wonderful parents for making that happen. Also, thank you to our parent meet timers —and BEN! — diving judges, and scorekeeper for helping make the meet run smoothly. We appreciate everyone that was able to be there and support the boys, especially at such an early hour.”
Forst, the gray team captain, chose Daniel Sarlo as his Swimmer of the Meet, and Miles Capolla and Will Midson, captains of the maroon team, chose Jack Duryea as their Swimmer of the Meet.
East Hampton opens its League II season this Thursday, December 12, at Lindenhurst at 5 p.m.