East Hampton’s Summer Jones Wins County Title In 50 Free; Bonac Places Ninth Overall In County

East Hampton's Ava Castillo, in foreground, and Pierson's Kiara Bailey-Williams, in next lane, at the start of the 200-yard individual medley. MICHAEL HELLER

Summer Jones became East Hampton’s first county champion since 2012 when she won the 50-yard freestyle at the Section XI Swimming Championships at Stony Brook University this past Sunday, April 25.

The East Hampton sophomore won the event in 24.70 seconds, two-tenths of a second ahead of Hauppauge-Smithtown freshman Sofia Burns. Marina Preiss was the last Bonacker to win a county title, winning both the 50- and 100-yard freestyles nine years ago.

“It felt amazing to finish in first place and to drop time,” Jones said. “It has been an amazing season. I am so grateful for having such outstanding coaches and supportive teammates that help motivate me.”

Just as the league championships saw a different format due to upgraded safety and health protocols, the county championships saw a different setup as well. The meet was broken up into two days, Saturday and Sunday, with the fastest heats of the relays and top two fastest heats of the individual events competing on Sunday, with all others on Saturday. The exception was the 50 free, for which all three heats were on Sunday, when all the times from all the various events were merged to determine final placements.

It was an overall solid performance for the East Hampton-Pierson-Bridgehampton girls swim team, finishing ninth out of 26 schools in Suffolk County with 108 points. Ward Melville won its fourth straight county title, and 27th in the past 29 years, with 290 points, followed by Hauppauge-Smithtown (252) and Sayville-Bayport-Blue Point (224.5).

“The dedication and hard work that the girls put in throughout the season shined through in their efforts in the competition,” East Hampton head coach Craig Brierley said. “Just like at the league championship meet the week before, the girls were prepared, excited, and ready to compete and give their absolute best efforts. Throughout the meet, the Bonac girls posted either a season best, or a lifetime best time. A very impressive task given the fact that they posted best times just a week prior in the league championship meet.”

On top of winning a gold medal in the 50 free, Jones also helped the 200-yard freestyle relay team win silver in a season’s best 1:44.20. Springs eighth-grader Lily Griffin, Pierson senior Catalina Badilla and East Hampton sophomore Jane Brierley joined Jones on the team. Jones also placed fourth in the 100-yard butterfly in 58.40 seconds.

East Hampton sophomore Camryn Hatch earned a bronze medal in the 100 free, dropping three seconds off her previous best to finish in 54.70 seconds. That achievement, coupled with the fact that she improved her times in all of the events she swam in — the 100 back, 100 free, leading off the 200 medley relay in the 50 back, and anchoring the 400 free relay — team captains chose Hatch as the team’s final Swimmer of the Meet for this season.

Coach Brierley said Hatch was a major contributor to the team’s ninth-place finish and that she “competed with confidence and a positive attitude that was the driving force to her hard-earned success.”

Hatch said she was seeded in the slower of the two groups in the 100 free going into the meet, and admitted that with two other events to swim in on Sunday, she wasn’t too focused on the event anymore. After the faster of the two groups swam on Sunday, she was comparing her times to see where she would place, and once she saw she finished third, she was overjoyed, which propelled her going into the rest of the meet.

“Once I saw the results, I was jumping up and down with excitement,” she said. “This excitement really helped me get energized for my 100 backstroke, which was coming up soon. I also did really well in that with a season best and a 10th place finish.

“Overall, this season was definitely one of the most fun and exciting yet,” Hatch continued. “Everyone was very supportive, always cheering for others and helping out whenever possible. Everyone really stepped up this season and we all became friends throughout the season. Even though we weren’t undefeated this season, this is one of the most hardworking groups I’ve been with. Despite the difficulties that came with this season, everybody put their all into each and every practice and meet.”