Bonac’s Boys Eye a League Title

Craig Brierley, who coaches East Hampton High’s boys swimming team, said he thought his 31-strong squad had a legitimate chance to win a first-ever league championship
Rob Rewinski, a Pierson junior who’s a recent convert from freestyle to the butterfly, is an example of the versatility Craig Brierley is looking for from his charges. Craig Macnaughton

    During its most arduous workout of the season, a series of timed intervals totaling 2,200 yards, at the Y.M.C.A. East Hampton RECenter’s pool Friday, Craig Brierley, who coaches East Hampton High’s boys swimming team, said he thought his 31-strong squad had a legitimate chance to win a first-ever league championship.

    “What I’m trying to teach them,” said Brierley, “is how to stay engaged mentally [and thus to retain their form] when they’re in a race and haven’t anything left.”

    East Hampton’s winter track coaches, Luis Morales and Shani Cuesta, whose teams have been working out at the high school’s oval during the holiday break, are trying to achieve the same thing. “Practice hard, race easy . . . no coffee breaks here,” Cuesta said during Saturday morning’s workout.

    League championships presumably are out of the question for these squads, though certain individuals have shots at qualifying for state meets.

    Morales’s and Cuesta’s charges are aiming for the league championships at the end of the month. Meanwhile, they are engaged in crossover meets at Suffolk Community College in Brentwood.

    In the girls’ most recent one, Dana Cebulski, who just missed qualifying for the state 1,000-meter race last year, ran the 600 in 1 minute and 44.85 seconds, and ran the 1,000 in 3:08.58. The state qualifying standards in those races are 1:38.5 and 3:02.

    In the 55-meter hurdles, Sadie Ward did a personal-best 10.30 (the league-qualifying time in that event is 9.0 to 9.3).

    Morales said that in the boys last crossover, Erick Engstrom did a 4:46 in the 1,600, that Jack Link, who “wanted to test his speed,” ran the 300 in 41:03, and that Elijah Robinson, the sole trackster from Sag Harbor, did a 17-1 in his first attempt at the long jump.

    Morales’s assistant, Bill Herzog, who first announced his “retirement” four years ago, “taught me everything I know,” said Morales.

    The boys are to compete in a crossover in Brentwood on Saturday at 2 p.m. The girls, who have already had four meets, are to take part in a crossover there Sunday.

    Back to swimming, Brierley said he wants all of his swimmers to be able to compete in all the strokes “to keep the other coaches guessing.” Trevor Mott, one of the team’s captains, has already qualified for the state meet in the 500-yard freestyle, at a nonleaguer at defending-county-champion Half Hollow Hills. He finished second, “by that much,” said Brierley, holding a thumb and first finger a few inches apart.

    Mott won the 50, and Thomas Brierley was a very close runner-up in the 100 backstroke, just missing a state qualifying time.

    Brierley and Brian Cunningham’s team has on it 11 seniors, seven juniors, six sophomores, four freshmen, and three eighth graders. Mott, as aforesaid, and Thomas Brierley and Kyle Sturmann, a Pierson senior, are the captains. All but nine on the squad are returnees.

    East Hampton’s first league meet is to be at Hauppauge Tuesday.

East Hampton has two strong breaststrokers in Joe Gengarelly, of Pierson, above, and Tyler Menold, who was named as the team’s swimmer of the meet following an 89-73 win here over Smithtown on Dec. 17. Craig Macnaughton