East Hampton Still Strongest In League II

Colin Harrison doesn’t think his East Hampton boys swim team will ever need divers. And while he wasn’t entirely shocked by Thursday’s League II championship win, he was still a little surprised.

“I didn’t really see this coming,” the junior said. “I thought it would be a lot closer than that. We aren’t in the top league because we don’t have enough people, and despite that fact we’re all so good and put in so much effort, which really means a lot.”

With a 307 to 241 win over Hauppauge January 31, the Bonackers brought home their second straight championship plaque after completing back-to-back perfect League II seasons. The East Hampton team did it again despite not having a single diver either season.

Senior captain Aidan Forst accepts the championship belt for his team. Independent/Desirée Keegan

“We don’t need divers to beat anybody,” said senior Aidan Forst. “It may make things harder, but we’re definitely a strong team.”

He too didn’t think his team would win by the margin it did after beating the Eagles 97-73 back on January 14, but was able to take a deep breath when he found out his team will still up by 30 points after Hauppauge’s Sean Rorke won 16 points placing first in the diving portion with a score of 292.

“I tried not to look too far into it. I told the boys it, ‘It doesn’t matter what it says on paper. You’ve got to do the work, you’ve got to swim, you’ve got to race.’ And they showed up,” head coach Craig Brierley said. “They did what was asked of them. The boys work hard every day and the results take care of themselves.”

Harrison, Duryea, Fernando Menjura, and Owen McCormac also solidified a state championships slot with a qualifying time of 1 minute, 29.51 seconds in the 200-yard freestyle relay.

McCormac said making states has been his relay team’s goal since the beginning of the season.

Senior captain Aidan Forst presents the championship plaque to his cheering teammates. Independent/Desirée Keegan

“It’s really nice to see it come full circle,” he said. “Coming in we knew we were the fastest, going to beat everyone else — we had that mindset and I think that’s what led us to winning.”

All three relays went best times, but the relay also achieved the feat despite two swimmers being sick.

“They knew it wasn’t going to be easy, but they knew they had jobs to do, and they still persevered,” Brierley said. “They give their absolute best on any given day — they always lay it out there for their team.”

The head coach admitted he never thought being league champions was a possibility because of East Hampton’s lack of divers. But now, most of the Bonackers who were on last season’s historic team have achieved another milestone by also being the first squad to win back-to-back titles. Duryea, Harrison, McCormac and Joey Badilla finished second in the 200 medley (1:41.81), and Badilla also placed second in the 200 individual medley (2:07.55) and third in the 100 backstroke (56.43). McCormac finished second in the 50 freestyle (22.56) and his relay teammates Harrison (22.99) and Menjura (23.38) touched the wall right behind him. Harrison also placed third in the 100 butterfly (57.32) and Menjura third in the 100 freestyle (51.45).

Jack Duryea smiles with teammates Fernando Menjura and Colin Harrison after seeing Owen McCormac finish his leg of the 200 freestyle relay. Independent/Desirée Keegan

Forst came in first in the 500 freestyle in 5:08.75 and a personal best 1:54.06 in the 200, good for second. Duryea placed third in the 100 breaststroke (1:04.60) and Curran O’Donnell sixth (1:08.92). Pierson senior Conor Flanagan finished in a personal best 1:11.41, which was also a Suffolk County championship qualifying time. The Suffolk County championships meet is scheduled for Saturday, February 8, at Suffolk County Community College in Brentwood at 10 AM.

Forst said for he and many of his fellow teammates they had something to prove to some former Bonackers.

“Ethan McCormac and Ryan Duryea said they carried the team,” the senior captain said, smiling. “It felt great to do it without them, prove to them that we don’t need them.”

Forst finished swimming the second leg of the 400 freestyle relay that finished in second place. He contributed 29 individual points and 26 relay points towards the teams point total.

“Aidan demonstrates the finest qualities that can be asked of a teammate,” Brierley said. “Through his sacrifices, commitment and dedication, Aidan has consistently brought the team success in whatever event he is asked to compete in.”

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East Hampton’s boys swim team made history by being the first to help the program to back-to-back League II championship titles. Independent/Desirée Keegan

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