The season came to a close for the East Hampton/Pierson/Bridgehampton boys swim team at the Section XI Swimming Championships at Suffolk County Community College in Brentwood on Saturday. The League II Champion Bonackers, who were shorthanded due to a few illnesses, placed sixth overall in the county with 148 points.
“A very impressive feat, given that there were so many best times last week at the league championship meet, and, there were three swimmers not able to compete due to illness,” East Hampton head coach Craig Brierley said. “Yet, the boys were very focused and motivated to do their best, and the coaches were thrilled with the efforts the boys put in for each of their races.”
The 200-yard freestyle relay team of Jack Duryea, Aidan Forst, Owen McCormac and Fernando Menjura — who had already qualified for the New York State Swimming Championships earlier this season by besting the qualifying standard of 1:30.12 — did so again at counties by finishing in 1:29.97, which placed them third. The squad usually includes Colin Harrison but he was one of three swimmers who missed counties with an illness, along with Curran O’Donnell and Tenzin Tamang. Forst was sick also but managed to compete in four events.
Harrison will be back in the fold with the rest of his teammates for the state meet which is March 6 and 7 at the Nassau County Aquatic Center in East Meadow.
Duryea, McCormac, Menjura and Joey Badilla placed fourth in the 200 medley relay in 1:40.89, dropping nearly a full second off their season’s best time, but two-tenths away from qualifying for states (1:40.67). McCormac was also very close to qualifying for states individually in the 50 freestyle. He finished the race in 22.42 seconds, which placed him fifth in the county, but was less than three-tenths of a second off the qualifying standard of 22.19 seconds.
Half Hollow Hills continued its dominance at counties, winning with 354 points. Sachem (234) and Connetquot (234), Hauppauge (183.5) and Huntington/Harborfields/Walt Whitman (167) all followed.
“The boys again gave their best efforts, as they showed all the skills and characteristics they have been developing over the course of the season, and over the years, with a fantastic display of what makes our team so special each year. And that is something we are all proud of,” Brierley said of his swimmers.
The coaches took over duties from team captains for selecting the team’s Swimmer of the Meet. They went with Menjura, a junior from Pierson, who had personal bests in three events which included the 50 free (22.86 seconds) and 100 free (50.37 seconds). He also filled in a key role on the medley relay team, which was missing one of its usual members due to an illness. He swam a personal best in the butterfly portion of that as well (24.45 seconds). Overall Menjura contributed 22 individual points and helped the relay teams accrue 62 points.
“All season, Fernando has been a positive asset to the team,” Brierley said. “He has a quiet leadership style where, in the water, he continually pushes himself in every length. And out of the water, Fernando is always ready to support his teammates. Due to his versatility to contribute in multiple events, Fernando proved he was up for the challenge that was presented to him. His teammates and the coaches had total confidence in his abilities to deliver.”