Tom Cohill, the Y.M.C.A. East Hampton RECenter's aquatics director, still thinks the Y's 80-strong youth swim team, the Hurricanes, is "the best pound for pound in the state."
He said so the other day during a practice session that Angelika Cruz was running for 11 through 14-year-olds.
Because of the coronavirus pandemic, "we stopped this time last year, but took up again in August, making sure that we were super careful. . . . We've been practicing six days a week with different groups, and attendance has been very good."
An Islandwide meet in March at Eisenhower Park in East Meadow, at which a number of his and Cruz's charges swam best times, served as a yardstick against which to measure their progress. And there have been four home meets lately with the Huntington Y's team -- the only other Long Island Y.M.C.A. to oversee a youth swim team in recent months.
Cohill said that Huntington's and East Hampton's teams were "evenly matched, which is good."
Reporting on the June 13 meet with Huntington here, Cruz said best times in the open class for 13 through 18-year-olds were swum by Summer Jones (200), Hudson Fox-Bathon (200 back), Liam Knight (50 free, 200 back, and 200 free), Patrick O'Donnell (200 back, 200 breast, and 200 free), Daisy Pitches (200 back, 200 breast, 200 free, and 50 fee), Sarah Spanburgh (200 breast), Tenzin Tamang (200 fly), and Frey Wood (200 breast, 200 free, and 50 free).
Among the 11 and 12-year-olds she cited Nick Chavez (100 back), Elizabeth Daniels (100 back and 100 breast), Lilly Early (50 free, 100 back, and 100 breast), Allison Farez (100 fly), Hallie Flores (200 free), Ginger Griffin (50 free, 100 fly, and 100 breast), Violet Klayman (50 free), Ben Kriegsman (100 back and 50 back), Mia Luna (100 back, 100 fly, and 200 free), Miles Menu (50 free), Lyla Metz (200 free), Vanessa Rizzo (100 back, 100 fly, and 200 free), and Ariel Ruggiero (50 free).
Skylar Goulart (100 back and 100 fly), Molly Grande (100 back, 100 fly, and 100 free), Aidan Menu (50 free, 100 back, and 50 breast), Oskar Merseburg (100 breast), Sierra Metz (50 breast), Evelyn Rizzo (50 free and 50 fly), and Heidi Rizzo (50 fly) swam best times in the 10-and-under division.
"It was another day of great swimming at our Y," Cruz said, "but while we celebrate many personal bests it is important that we remember what it takes to get back up on the block after a disappointment or when there are only a few minutes' rest in between events. In being able to put aside disappointment and being able to compete when your body's tired you're developing that grit that will serve you so well not only in swimming but in life. Your coaches love seeing that as much as they do seeing best times on the scoreboard."
In an email this week, Cruz said that "despite the reduced practice times owing to Covid and all the upheavals caused by quarantines, these kids stayed focused and worked really hard. And they continue to improve at the meets. It's great to see!"
"Metro Swimming has posted the 2021-22 calendar, and it is a regular schedule! Hallelujah! So, barring any resurgence, we will most likely have regular meets starting in the fall. And, in the meantime, there will be some championship meets in July and, hopefully, some open water events in August."
Cohill said the Hurricanes will continue practicing six days a week at the Y through the summer. East Hampton's Nippers program for 6 through 8-year-olds and its Junior Lifeguard program for 9 through 15-year-olds are to begin on the town's beaches this week.