After a strong performance at the League III Championships on October 29, in which the team placed second, it seemed like it would be tough for the East Hampton/Pierson/Bridgehampton girls swimming team to top that showing. But it did just that at the Section XI Swimming Championships at Suffolk County Community College in Brentwood on Saturday.
The Lady Bonackers placed sixth out of 26 teams in Suffolk County and are sending five swimmers to the New York State Championships, which will be held from November 22-23 at Ithaca College.
“Just like at the league championship meet the week before, the girls were prepared and ready to compete and give their absolute best efforts,” East Hampton head coach Craig Brierley said. “The dedication and hard work that the girls put in throughout the season shined through in their efforts in the competition.”
And as Brierley mentioned, they didn’t waste any time in giving those best efforts.
In the first event of the day, the 200-yard medley relay, Emily Dyner, Kiara Bailey-Williams, Darcy McFarland and Caroline Brown all swam personal bests and finished 11th in the county in 1:59.16. Later in the meet, the 200 freestyle relay team of McFarland, Sophia Swanson and Jane and Julia Brierley, placed second in 1:41.20. It was their second state qualifying time of the season, punching their ticket to the state meet. The same team qualified for states earlier in the season in the 200 medley relay and will be competing in both events upstate, with Bailey-Williams making the trip as an alternate.
The Brierley sisters, Swanson and Catalina Badilla needed to drop 17 seconds of their previous best to qualify for states in the 400 free relay. They came close, but came up a bit short, dropping almost 15 seconds and finishing in fifth in the county in 3:45.92.
Swanson earned an individual berth into the state meet by placing third in the 100 free in 53.78 seconds, 1.5 seconds ahead of her previous best. She’ll be competing in both the 100 free and 100 butterfly, which she qualified for earlier this season.
A number of swimmers finished with personal or season’s bests. Jane Brierley, who will be competing individually at the state meet in the 100 breaststroke, dropped 1.8 seconds off her 200IM time to place fifth and 1.4 seconds in the 100 free, in which she placed 15th. Bailey-Williams cut over two seconds off her previous best in the same race.
Julia Brierley finished the 50 free in a season’s best 25.96 seconds to place seventh and took over two seconds off her season’s best and 0.4 off her personal best in the 100 backstroke.
Dyner erased 1.6 seconds off her personal best (1:04.15) in the 100 back and placed 18th, while Bailey-Williams improved her 100 back time by 2.3 seconds and finished 21st. McFarland finished a personal best in the 100 butterfly in 1:06.46, which placed her 23rd.
Swanson was named the Swimmer of the Meet by team captains for her role in the state-qualifying 200 free relay on top of qualifying individually in the 100 free. She also finished her 100 free leg of the 400 free relay with a personal best.
“Always a tough competitor and a consistent hard worker in practice, Sophia has earned her successes in the pool,” Coach Brierley said.