Owen McCormac wanted to build his own legacy — one his older brother Ethan wasn’t a part of.
When he raced to touch the wall for the final time Thursday night, he looked over his shoulder, slapped the water, and raised his arms high in the air because he did just that. The junior, anchoring East Hampton’s 200-yard freestyle relay, helped his quartet to a first-place League II finished with a state-qualifying time of 1 minute, 29.51 seconds.
“It was always Ethan, then me,” McCormac said. “He was always dominating, so to have my name alone be associated with these accolades is pretty cool.”
East Hampton also completed its second straight undefeated season and earned back-to-back League II titles with 307 points to second-place Hauppauge’s 241 at the Eagles’ home pool January 30. Even without his brother by his side, McCormac believed in what his Bonackers were capable of.
“We’re a solid team — an absolute unit,” he said. “We missed our first few chances to get that state time, but this was the meet where we just took off.”
First in the water was Colin Harrison, who said while he likes to envision what his swim is going to look like, his mind went blank as soon as he stepped up onto the block.
“I used to beat myself up — a lot of kids smack their chest and their arms — but I think that takes a lot of effort out of me,” Harrison said. “So now I stand there, stay silent, take a few deep breaths, and jump in.”
Both McCormacs swam in the same relay last season, along with recent graduate Ryan Duryea, whose younger brother Jack was next in the water.
“I just wanted to go fast,” Duryea said, admitting he’d been feeling sick since for days prior. “I just wanted to get off the block and go as fast as I could.”
The junior will also following in his brother’s footsteps and making his first trip to the state championships, held March 6 and 7 at the Nassau Aquatic Center.
“We’re a family here, regardless of who is related to who” said Fernando Menjura, who swam the third leg of the relay. “We lost one of our fastest swimmers in Ethan McCormac, but we pulled through here. We have a ton of depth, and that’s what has helped us leave these meets so successful.”
The junior amitted he was nervous though, because he got off to a rocky start. He regained his focus quickly realizing what was at stake.
“It was a head rush. I couldn’t believe it,” Menjura said of seeing where he left the team off before it was McCormac’s turn to take over. “I just kept looking toward the end of the pool, and felt awesome once I hit off the wall.”
McCormac said this has been the goal since the beginning of the season, and after shaving off nearly four seconds to put a check in the box next to it, the boys already have their sights set on a new goal — making nationals. The relay came .02 seconds away, and the Bonackers think they can meet the mark at states. He’ll keep reminding himself of what he thought moments before taking off toward the finish line, and it hoping that new goal, like the one from the beginning of the season, comes full circle.
“All I keep thinking is ‘I have to make the time,’” McCormac said. “I have to pull it all together, I have to bring it home.’”
Check back for more photos from the championship meet.