When East Hampton boys swim coach Craig Brierley puts together his lineups for each meet, determining who will compete in what events, earning the maximum number of points for the team isn’t his only priority.
That was evident in his team’s 91-74 home win over Harborfields on January 15 at the East Hampton YMCA. Brierley explained that while he knew his squad had a good chance to win, based on Harborfields’ results from previous meets this season, he still chose to rest some of his best swimmers by taking them out of some of their usual events, and he also put other swimmers in events that are less familiar to them.
Because he does not tell them what events they will compete in until just before the start of the meet, Brierley said, his swimmers are forced to “process their reactions” and deal with nerves and discomfort in a short amount of time, thus learning “life lessons” in the process.
Against Harborfields, Henry Whitney, who usually specializes in the sprints, swam the 200-yard freestyle; Rob Rewinski and Tyler Menold both swam in the 200-yard individual medley, an unfamiliar event for them, and Caleb Atkinson-Barnes swam in his first individual event, the 50 freestyle. Brierley added that he was particularly proud of Thomas Ludacer, who competed in a meet for the first time ever as part of the 200 free ‘C’ relay. Ludacer was never a swimmer before joining the team this year, and Brierley explained that he told Ludacer he couldn’t participate in a meet until he could complete a 50 free with a flip turn.
“There are a lot of boys that would have given up and left the team, but Thomas continued to come to practice and improve and because of his hard work and efforts he earned a spot in the line-up,” Brierley said. “It is extremely admirable what Thomas has done and continues to do as he works to get better.”
Aside from swimmers accepting the challenge of competing outside their comfort zone, there were other highlights from the meet as well. Thomas Brierley set a new team record in the 100-yard butterfly, winning the race in 56.90 seconds, taking four seconds off his previous best time. Kyle Sturmann and Chris Kalbacher finished second and third, respectively, to give East Hampton a sweep of the top three spots in that event. Thomas Brierley also set personal records in the 50-yard freestyle as part of the 200 medley relay (22.38) and for his leg in the 400 free relay (50.59). T.J. Calabrese took 18 seconds off his previous best time in the 500 free, finishing in 6:21.23, and he also had a personal-best in the 50 backstroke as part of the 200 medley relay in 34.49. Joe Gengarelly took 2.6 seconds off his previous best time in the 100 breaststroke, finishing in 1:09.05, and he also set a personal record with a time of 31.31 in the 50 breaststroke portion of the 200 medley relay.
Christian Brierley set two personal records, with times of 27.98 in the 50 backstroke of the 200 medley relay and 1:01.51 in the 100 backstroke; Christian Figueroa had his best times in the 200 free (2:15.64) and 100 backstroke (1:11.48); Menold had his best times in the 200 individual medley (2:28.76) and the 200 free relay (24.78); Thomas Paradiso had his best times in the 50 free (24.87) and the 200 free relay (24.14); Rob Rewinski set a personal mark in the 200 IM (2:26.16); Tyler Shaw had his best time in the 100 free (58.78); Kevin Weiss had his best time in the 200 free relay (33.32); Trevor Mott hit a personal best in the 400 free relay (50.15), as did Nick Pucci (1:00.60), Andrew Wilson (1:04.94) and Henry Uihlein (1:01.03).
ON THE SCHEDULE: Tuesday, 1/21, at North Babylon, 4:30 p.m.; Thursday, 1/23, vs. Deer Park, 4:30 p.m.; Monday, 1/27, vs. Huntington, 4:30 p.m.; Wednesday, 1/29, vs. Sayville/Bayport, 4:30 p.m.