This past weekend marked the third time that East Hampton High’s Marina Preiss, a junior, has competed in the New York State championship girls swimming meet.
Preiss, who first swam at the state level as an eighth grader, and who went up last year as well, did herself proud, placing fifth in the 50-yard freestyle in a personal best time of 24.42 seconds, and ninth in the 100 free — usually her stronger race — in 52.90.
Her mother, Meg, who is Marina’s coach in the off-season, said, “She would have had a ‘p.r.’ in the 100 too except for the fact that at the midway point in the final she flipped too soon and got no push off the wall.”
Marina had tied for 12th in the preliminary 50 heat, in which Catholic and private school swimmers vied with swimmers from public high schools. Spared a swim-off to break that tie — an extra race she was just as happy not to contest — she was told if she won Saturday’s B final, she’d be scored as if she had swum in the A final, which included two girls from Catholic schools.
“That served as a great motivator,” said Marina’s mother.
Marina peaked at the right time, Meg Preiss added. “Going into the state meet, her winning times in the county 50 and 100 races were the best she’d done this season.”
“It was an amazing performance,” said East Hampton’s coach, John McGeehan, especially considering the fact that public high school state swim meets are open ones, not subdivided, as in soccer, track, volleyball, and the like, into enrollment classifications.
Preiss’s next goal, said her mother, will be to qualify for the U.S. Swimming junior nationals. The qualifying time for the 50 is 23.0; it’s 51.0 in the 100.
The junior nationals will be held in March, “in Florida,” said Meg Preiss. “There will be a sectional meet in Buffalo either in late February or early March. . . . She plans to swim in college. We’re not sure just where yet.”