It was Sophia Swanson’s first time competing in an individual event at states, but her nerves became her greatest asset. The junior East Hampton swimmer bottled up those feelings and used them to propel her to her best time in the 100-meter butterfly — 59.25 seconds — good for 33rd place out of 90.
“It was amazing, because for two whole years I’ve been trying to get that time,” she said. “This whole season I kept shaving off seconds, so it felt really good because I felt prepared, worked really hard for it. But it was also really, really scary despite being seeded well in one of the last heats.”
She had gone up to swim in the championships her eighth grade and freshman seasons, and said although she’d missed a year, the atmosphere at Ithaca College November 16 and 17 was just as exciting as it’s always been.
“There’s just so many kids, and so many good kids,” Swanson said. “Everyone’s always breaking new records and new times. Section XI teammates are also always so welcoming.”
Swanson was also the third leg in the team’s 200 medley relay and fourth in the 200 freestyle relay that contended for top places at the state meet.
On Friday, her medley relay quartet with senior Oona Foulser, junior Julia Brierley, and eighth-grader Jane Brierley, swam 1:50.02 to earn a spot in Saturday’s final, and went 1:50.41 in that day to take 13th place. The freestyle quartet of the same swimmers finished 24th overall.
“This season we got a lot closer, so it was a lot more fun,” Swanson said. “We were helping the younger girls with their swimming. We all just competed really well together.”
Jane Brierley finished 25th in the 100 breaststroke, touching the wall in 1:08.33.
“It was so inspiring to watch this year’s group of swimmers compete with heart and give all they had in every race throughout the season,” said head coach Craig Brierley, Julia’s father. “Our athletes represented their school with respect and dignity, and with so many wonderful accomplishments and personal growth.”