John McGeehan had promised the meet between the East Hampton and Harborfields High School girls swimming teams last week would be a barn burner, and it was.
So, as a matter of fact, had been the last two meets between these teams, though this time instead of the Tornadoes winning, the Bonackers did.
It all went down to the final relay, which East Hampton, with Maddie Minetree, Carly Drew, Laura Gundersen, and Marina Preiss, won, earning an all-important 8 points, which put McGeehan’s team over the top, 88-82.
“When Marina began her anchor leg, Harborfields had the lead, though not by a lot,” McGeehan said later. “In that relay, they swam four laps. Marina took over in the last two. A great job.”
Perhaps the meet really was won, though, when the coach scratched Preiss from the opening 200-yard medley relay so that he could save her for the finale.
Lindsey Stevens, who took Preiss’s place in the 200 medley relay did fine, and the team, which also included Mikayla Mott, Drew, and Morgan German, just missed winning.
“Morgan was touched out — it was very close,” said McGeehan, adding that, “had we won that relay, it would have been icing on the cake.”
After the first four events — the aforementioned opening relay, the 200 freestyle, which East Hampton swept, the 200 individual medley, which was won in exciting fashion by Mott, and the 50 free, which was won by Preiss — East Hampton held a slim lead.
And it went back and forth thereafter. McGeehan said that East Hampton’s second, third, fourth, and even fifth-place finishers had made significant contributions. “You can win every event and still not win the meet — you need those seconds and thirds and fourths to win,” he said.
Drew, who’s only an eighth grader (one of several on the team) won the 100 butterfly in a personal-record 1 minute and 1.44 seconds — “one of the top times in the county,” according to McGeehan.
Minetree was first in the 100 free; Gundersen took second in the 500 free, and Preiss won the 100 backstroke in 1:04.15 — “a great race,” according to her coach. Stevens, he added, had done a 1:10.39 in that event, a p-r for her.
Mott won the 100 breaststroke, which treated East Hampton to “a 4 or 5-point lead going into the 400 relay.”
“This puts us right up there with Sayville and Harborfields as the top three in our league,” McGeehan said. “By now these other teams know we’re to be reckoned with. Our girls have their eyes on the prize — the League III meet at Hauppauge High School on Nov. 4. To win there really would be exciting.”