In recent years, the East Hampton girls swim team has emerged as one of the top programs in League III and in Suffolk County at large, and head coach Craig Brierley and his coaching staff expect to keep up the same tradition of excellence this year.
The Lady Bonackers are coming off two straight undefeated seasons, and have several swimmers who were instrumental in that success back on the roster.
Olivia Brabant, Julia Brierley, Darcy McFarland and Sophia Swanson are team captains this year, and are part of a strong senior class that also includes Reghan Anderson, Eva Doyle and Tiana Treadwell.
Pierson junior Catalina Badilla returns to the team after missing last season, and should be strong in the butterfly and in relay events. Another Pierson junior, Kiara Bailey-Williams, should be strong in distance events and relays, while Brabant will also excel in those events. Freshman Jane Brierley will compete in the breaststroke, individual medley and relays, while Julia Brierley will focus on the backstroke, sprints and relays. Junior Caroline Brown (backstroke, relays), sophomore Emily Dyner (butterfly, relays), McFarland (butterfly, backstroke, relays) and Swanson (individual medley, butterfly, relays) will all also have a big impact in the pool and be counted on to score points for the Lady Bonackers. They will also be the primary swimmers to help offset losses to graduation from last year. Fortunately, East Hampton lost only two seniors — Oona Foulser and Emma Wiltshire — to graduation.
Brierley expects several newcomers to have an impact as well. Freshman Maddy Elfein and Pierson eighth-grader Izzy Caplin will “help in the depth area” and be contributors “in the near future,” according to coach Brierley. He was also excited about the addition of assistant coach Anita LaGrassa, who recently retired from teaching at Pierson.
“She’s a wonderful person and a wonderful addition to our swim family,” Brierley said.
Brierley said that while he isn’t exactly sure what the other teams in the county look like this season, he expects the traditionally strong teams — Ward Melville, Northport, Sayville, Connetquot and Half Hollow Hills — to be strong once again and send a lot of swimmers to the county (state qualifier) meet at the end of the season. But he added that he doesn’t spend too much time trying to figure out what’s going on with opponents.
“We never know what other teams will be, as we all change from year to year,” he said. “Our philosophy is to control ourselves and all that we do and then let the outcomes take care of themselves.”
The Lady Bonackers were scheduled to travel to Ward Melville for a non-league meet this Thursday, September 12, at 5 p.m. and will host Northport/Commack in another non-league meet on September 17 at 5 p.m. They will start the league season at home against West Islip on September 27 at 5 p.m.