‘Strongest Team in the State Pound for Pound’

Ten Hurricane swimmers are headed to the national Y meet in North Carolina
Julia Brierley, arching at the start of the 100-yard backstroke above, placed second in that event and second in the 100 breaststroke. She will compete in the Y.M.C.A. national meet in Greensboro, N.C., next month. Eugene DePasquale Photos

Each year the Y.M.C.A. East Hampton RECenter Hurricanes’ performance at the state Y swimming meet is a hard act to follow, inasmuch as the 8-through-19-year-old team keeps raising the bar across the board.

Last year, in Buffalo, Tom Cohill’s charges placed third among 39 entries, breaking eight state records along the way. This past weekend, at the Nassau County Aquatics Center, the Hurricanes finished fourth among 36 teams, behind Flushing, which has won this meet 33 straight times, the Cross Island Y, and the Rye Y, all of which had many more entries than did East Hampton, whose roster comprised 55 swimmers.

“So you could say that pound for pound we’re the strongest team in the state,” an elated Cohill said during a conversation at the Y’s pool Monday afternoon.

Cohill had a lapful of plaques to show — one for the 13-14-year-old girls, who were tops in their age group, one for the 15-19 girls, who placed second in theirs, one for the 9-10 girls, who were third in their age group, and one for the 15-19 boys, who also placed third.

Moreover, the Hurricanes’ head coach and Craig Brierley, one of his assistants, are to take 10 competitors — the most ever, there were eight last year — to the Y national meet in Greensboro, N.C., next month.

Angelika Cruz, one of the Hurricanes’ coaches, said in an emailed account that “there were personal bests by every swimmer in at least one event, the most noteworthy performance coming in the girls 13-14 medley relay. East Hampton’s team of Cami Hatch (backstroke), Jane Brierley (breaststroke), Summer Jones (butterfly), and Emily Dyner (freestyle) won the event and set a team record of 1 minute and 53.39 seconds in doing so.” “Ethan McCormac,” Cruz said, “broke a state record [that had stood for 30 years] by winning the 200 free in 1:41.49; Jane Brierley won the open 200 breaststroke, and was second in the 100 breast, and Julia Brierley swam a team-record 58.87 in the 100 backstroke, breaking Cecilia De Havenon’s 59.32.” Julia Brierley placed second in the 100 backstroke and was second, as well, in the 100 breaststroke.

McCormac was the Hurricanes’ top male point scorer, with 60. Cruz’s daughter, Daisy Pitches, a 9-10 competitor who won the 50 breaststroke, topped East Hampton’s girls with 54 points.

But perhaps most impressive, according to Cohill and Cruz, were the facts that numerous Hurricanes who had not done so before enjoyed top-16 finishes and that most of the club’s relay teams finished among the top five.

The 10 swimmers Cohill and Brierley are taking to the Y nationals will be Ethan McCormac, Jane Brierley, Julia Brierley, Sophia Swanson (who was second in the state 200 individual medley and third in the 100 fly), Joey Badilla, Jack Duryea, Ryan Duryea, Aidan Forst, Owen McCormac, and Oona Foulser.

Ethan McCormac, Forst, Owen McCormac, and Ryan Duryea placed second in the 200 free relay at the state meet; Badilla (backstroke), Jack Duryea (breaststroke), Ethan McCormac(butterfly), and Ryan Duryea (freestyle) placed fourth in the 15-19 boys 200 medley relay, and Julia Brierley, Jane Brierley, Swanson, and Foulser placed second in the 15-19 girls 200 medley relay.

The list of those with personal bests comprised Wes Bull, Allison Farez, Lucy Knight, Mia Luna, Zoe McDonald, Aidan Menu, Erika Chunchi, Elizabeth Daniels, Jasiu Gredysa, Liam Knight, Ben Kriegsman, Miles Menu, Lylah Metz, Ben O’Sullivan, Pitches, Dylan Cashin, Ava Castillo, Lily Griffin, Ashley Leon, Margot McAuliffe, Patrick O’Donnell, Daniel Piver, Chloe Resnick, Nicky Badilla, Margaret Breen, Jane Brierley, Dyner, Hatch, Jones, Aidan McCormac, Curran O’Donnell, Tenzin Tamang, Daniel Aliakseyeu, Joey Badilla, Ryan Bahel, Kiara Bailey-Williams, Julia Brierley, Joan Delgado, Jack Duryea, Ryan Duryea, Forst, Foulser, Colin Harrison, Ethan McCormac, Owen McCormac, Fernando Menjura, Linda Pomiranceva, Swanson, and Bella Tarbet.

Assisting Cohill at the meet were Cruz, Craig Brierley, Andrey Trigubovich, Sean Knight, Sean Crowley, and Eugene DePasquale. “We’ve got a tremendous coaching staff,” said Cohill. “They’re either a teacher or a coach — they’re great educators.”

The captains, Ryan Duryea, Foulser, and Forst, were also to be thanked, Cohill said, as well as the Hampton Lifeguard Association and Norma Bushman, the Y’s aquatics director, “for the great support they’ve given us.”

Daisy Pitches, left, who swam in the 9-10 division at the state meet last weekend, led the Hurricane girls with 54 points, and Ethan McCormac, below, who broke a state record in the 200 freestyle race, was the boys’ high-scorer, with 60. Joey Badilla, above right, was a member of the fourth-place 200 medley relay team. McCormac, Badilla, and eight others are to compete in the Y nationals next month.