The day of the league boys swimming meet, Craig Brierley and his son Thomas met with Sinead FitzGibbon, a well-respected physical therapist and endurance athlete here, concerning a sore shoulder.
“An M.R.I. showed a minor stress fracture,” the elder Brierley said, “but Sinead said he was good to go. If she hadn’t given us the green light, I was prepared to shut him down. Strengthening exercises with her and stroke correction with me — as a coach your form is never good enough — should do it.”
Meanwhile, the lean, tousle-haired East Hampton High School junior went out and won the 100-yard county backstroke championship at Suffolk Community College-Brentwood Saturday, in 54.33 seconds, thus becoming the first here in the boys’ program’s four-year span to win a county title. Brierley was seeded fourth in the event, “and all four guys,” his father said, “qualified for the states, all within two-tenths of a second of each other. It was the most exciting race of the meet.”
Asked if he’d expected his son to win, Craig Brierley said, “I had no idea what to expect. He was in only one individual event that day, and I knew he was highly motivated to make the cut. . . . He was thrilled with the win — it was a season goal for him.”
Brierley’s teammate and fellow junior Trevor Mott, who qualified for the state meet’s 500-yard freestyle event during the regular season, and who was seeded third in the county 500, placed sixth, in 4:58.27, somewhat slower than his personal best, 4:52.30.
“He did well, but the fact that he’d already qualified for state meet probably had something to do with it,” said the elder Brierley, “and he was also saving himself for the relays.”
Mott set a personal record in the 50-yard breaststroke, with the 29.43 he swam in his leg of the 200 medley relay and with the 52.35 he swam in his 100-yard leg in the 400 free relay. The 200 medley relay team, which included Thomas Brierley, Chris Kalbacher, and Shane McCann, finished seventh, and the 400 freestyle relay team of Thomas Paradiso (subbing for Rob Rewinski), Alex Astilean, Mott, and Thomas Brierley, placed eighth.
With everyone “on or very near their best times,” Brierley and Brian Cunningham’s team of 13 finished 12th, bettering last year’s finish by three spots. “We had a couple of D.Q.s [in the 100 butterfly and 200 free relay], and one of our swimmers who would have scored was away, but I’m very happy with how we did.”
The 200 free relay, which comprised Rewinski, Tyler Menold, Astilean, and McCann, was disqualified because of an alleged false start by the anchorman, McCann.
Concerning Rewinski’s disqualification in the 100 butterfly, Brierley said, “He did a great job, but he touched out with one hand — in the fly and in the breast you have to touch the walls with both hands.”
Other P.R.s for East Hampton were Kalbacher’s 26.80 in the 50-yard butterfly leg he swam in the 200 medley relay and the 1:02.88 he swam in the 100 fly; the 200 medley relay team’s 1:45.82; Andrew Winthrop’s 2:04.87 in the 200 free; Astilean’s 2:18.02 in the 200 individual medley and his 53.80 as part of the 400 relay; Thomas Brierley’s 54.33 in the backstroke and his 49.33 100-yard leg in the 400 relay; Paradiso’s 55.70 in his 100 leg in the 400 relay, and the 400 relay team’s 3:31.22.
Hauppauge, a team that East Hampton — the league runnerup to Sayville-Bayport — had defeated in a dual meet this season and had edged out for the runnerup spot by one point in the recent league meet, finished higher than the Bonackers Saturday, in sixth place, “but that had a lot to do with the fact that they have considerably more club swimmers than the handful we have. You have to qualify for the counties. Because they have more U.S.A. swimmers — seven of our 32 kids are — more of them qualified, which enabled them to score more points.”
Thomas Brierley was named afterward as East Hampton’s swimmer-of-the-meet. Winthrop was so named following the league meet at which he turned in personal bests in the 200 free and 500 free. Parker Fenelon, a first-year swimmer, was voted swimmer-of-the-meet by the captains following the regular-season finale here with North Babylon.
“After the county meet we continued what’s becoming a tradition by going to Dave & Buster’s, a restaurant that has a big game room,” said the coach.