Pierson’s Nicky Badilla Shows Off Versatility In Bonac Swim Team’s Loss To West Islip

East Hampton's Luke Tarbet dives in to begin the third leg of the 200-yard medley relay during the Bonackers' meet against West Islip at the East Hampton Rec Center on December 15. MICHAEL HELLER

The East Hampton/Pierson/Bridgehampton boys swim team did what it could against a larger West Islip team in a home meet at the East Hampton RECenter on December 15, but the Bonackers couldn’t match the depth of the Lions in a 99-69 loss.

The loss dropped Bonac to 1-2 in League II and 1-3 overall. East Hampton head coach Craig Brierley said his team is smaller than in previous years, citing the usual, cyclical process that occurs from year to year in high school sports.

“That handicaps us as to being able to fill events,” he said, which was the case against West Islip.

Even without the needed depth, it was still a rather close meet. The Bonackers won the first three events and followed with four more first-place finishes to win seven of the 11 events. Pierson junior Nicky Badilla was a big reason for the team’s success and proved just how vital a multi-faceted swimmer could be to a team that lacks depth.

Badilla helped the 200-yard medley relay team to a victory, along with East Hampton juniors Tenzin Tamang and Luke Tarbet and sophomore Owen Robins. Then he went on to win the 100-yard freestyle (53.44 seconds) by three-tenths of a second while earning a second qualifying time for the Section XI Championships. Badilla also won the 100-yard backstroke (1:02.48) by seventh-tenths of a second, qualifying himself in another event for counties.

All in all, Badilla had a hand in scoring 22 of the team’s 69 points.

“Nicky has many weapons to help his team and he showed that,” Brierley said. “We obviously need the multi-faceted athlete to take on the max number of events, but it always comes down to a team’s depth and the ability to win the overall event scoring.”

Badilla joined a handful of others who had already qualified for counties in previous meets. That list includes Tamang (200 IM, 100 fly), East Hampton senior co-captain Aidan McCormac (50 free, 100 free), and Tarbet, who also qualified in the West Islip meet in the 100 fly. The 200 medley relay joined the 200 free relay team that had already qualified.

The Bonackers had their final meet of 2021 on Wednesday against North Babylon at Deer Park High School. They won’t swim again until January 6 when they host Sayville/Bayport-Blue Point at 5 p.m.