The East Hampton/Pierson/Bridgehampton girls swim team placed sixth out of 28 teams at the Section XI, or Suffolk County, Swimming Championships, held at Suffolk County Community College in Brentwood on Saturday.
The Lady Bonackers accrued 166 points, while Ward Melville won the meet with 269 points, followed by Connetquot (231) and Northport/Commack (225).
East Hampton started strong, placing fifth out of 16 teams in the 200-yard medley relay in a season’s best time of 1:53.66. Darcy McFarland, Julia Brierley, Sophia Swanson and Madison Jones made up that team. Although East Hampton was unable to qualify any of its swimmers for the New York State Championships, many of them had personal bests and helped score points for the team.
Jones, Brierley, Swanson and Catalina Badilla had the team’s highest finish in the meet, placing second in the 200-yard freestyle relay in 1:42.52, just a second slower than first place Connetquot. The team dropped .2 seconds off its season’s best time and earned All-County honors.
Brierley and Swanson were the team’s top individual point scorers for East Hampton, securing 23 and 22 points, respectively. Brierley placed seventh in the 100-yard breaststroke (1:09.75) and eighth in the 50-yard freestyle (25.69 seconds). Swanson placed sixth in the 100-yard freestyle (54.95 seconds) and ninth in the 200-yard freestyle (2:01.75).
Pierson freshman Catalina Badilla placed seventh in the 200-yard freestyle in 2:01.47, five seconds off her previous best. She also competed in the 100-yard butterfly, shaving a second off her personal best, finishing in 1:02.28 to place 11th. Badilla was selected by team captains as the Swimmer of the Meet for her performances.
“Always a tough competitor and a very hard worker in practice, Catalina has earned her successes in the pool,” East Hampton head coach Craig Brierley said.
Brierley added that it was a great season. East Hampton’s Jones, Isabella Swanson, Vanesa Betancur, Lucy Emptage and Angie Jeffrey, and Bridgehampton’s Patricia Figueroa and Jade Maldonaldo are all graduating.
“It was so inspiring to watch this year’s group of swimmers compete with heart and give all they had in every race throughout the season,” Brierley said. “Our athletes represented their schools with respect and dignity with so many wonderful accomplishments and personal growth. As goals were set and reached for, whether a best time was achieved or not, it is the hope that each individual ends the season a better person than they were at the beginning.”