A Meet to Remember

A wildly exciting 89-81 win
Thomas Brierley’s 400-yard freestyle relay teammates were there to greet him after he out-swam his fellow Sayville-Bayport anchorman to win the season finale 89-81. Craig Macnaughton

    Pandemonium reigned at the East Hampton Y.M.C.A. RECenter’s pool on Jan. 29 as Trevor Mott, one of the East Hampton High School boys swimming team’s captains, who had begun the third leg of the 400 freestyle relay finale half a pool length behind his Sayville counterpart, tore through the four laps in a personal best 47.80 seconds, almost pulling even as his fellow senior captain, Thomas Brierley, waited his anchorleg turn with a smile on his face.

    “Thomas was smiling,” his father, Craig, who is East Hampton’s coach, said following the wildly exciting 89-81 win, “because he knew he could beat his kid.”

    When this writer said it was the most exciting swimming meet he had seen here, the elder Brierley was inclined to agree, adding that “the one we had last year with Hauppauge was almost as good.”

    As a result, East Hampton, which has been greatly aided by four Pierson (Sag Harbor) students during the season — the two schools are combined in the sport — finished the league season at 5-2 (6-3 over all).

    Hauppauge won League II at 7-0, and West Islip (6-1) was second, though, East Hampton, which has no divers, would have won the meet there absent the 7 points awarded West Islip for diving.

    Trailing East Hampton in the standings were Sayville-Bayport (the defending league champion), at 4-3, Harborfields, at 3-4, Deer Park, at 2-5, Huntington, at 1-6, and North Babylon, at 0-7.

    The league meet is to be held tomorrow at Hauppauge High School at 4:30 p.m. The county swimming meet is to be held at Suffolk Community College-Brentwood on Feb. 15, beginning at 10:30 a.m.

    The East Hampton-Sayville meet was a nail-biter from the get-go, and, for the first time this season, the spectators, who packed the poolside bleachers, were apprised of the score, by Rich Kalbacher, after each of the 11 events.

    (Brierley said someday he’d like to see a new, more comprehensive scoreboard on the pool’s wall, one that would not only give the running score, but the competitors’ names and lanes as well.)

    East Hampton got off to a good start, finishing first and second in the opening event, the 200-yard medley relay. The winning team comprised Thomas Brierley (backstroke), Mott (breaststroke), Rob Rewinski (butterfly), and Shane McCann (freestyle). The runners-up were Christian Brierley, Joe Gengarelly, Chris Kalbacher, and Tyler Menold.

    Mott turned right around to win the 200 freestyle, with Sayville taking second and third. By the end of the third event, the 200 individual medley, which Thomas Brierley won, the Bonackers were in the lead, at 30-16.

    But Sayville came on thereafter; with eight events done, the score was tied at 55-55. Then the visitors took their first lead of the day, at 65-59, by finishing first — by less than a second — and third in the 200 freestyle relay.

    Thomas Brierley (6 points for the win), Christian Brierley (3 for third), and Anthony McGorisk (2 for fourth) pulled East Hampton even, at 70-70, in the 100-yard backstroke, after which, thanks to Gengarelly’s win and Menold’s third-place finish in the 100 breaststroke, the home team took a 79-77 lead into the meet’s finale, the 400 freestyle relay.

    As the swimmers readied themselves on the platforms for the opening leg, a buzzer malfunction resulted in a restart — and probably in additional jitters.

    Sayville’s first two — Kevin Kolar, who was matched against Rob Anderson, and Tim Stecher, who was paired with T.J. Paradiso — treated the visitors to a significant early lead, but then, as East Hampton’s fans jumped to their feet to loudly urge them on, Bonac’s “cigarette boats,” Mott and Brierley, took over. East Hampton’s A team bested Sayville’s 3:32.00 to 3:33.97.

    Not to be forgotten in the din was East Hampton’s B team (Alex Astilean, McGorisk, Christian Brierley, and McCann), which took third.

    In an email account, the elder Brierley said, “Our B team iced it by beating their opponents 3:48.11 to 3:50.90.”

    Sayville would have won the meet had it finished first and third in that final event. Had East Hampton finished second and third, the meet would have wound up tied at 85-85. It was that close.

    “We had ’em all the way,” said a smiling Thomas Brierley amid the celebrating. “I’m so pumped up . . . it was crazy.”

    “We knew it would be a tough meet,” said Mott. “Everybody was racing — our times were the best of the year.”

    Also not to be forgotten were the fourth-place finishers, in whose number were Astilean, Rewinski, and McGorisk, and the fifth-place finishers, in whose number were   Paradiso, Menold, Anderson, and Nick Pucci, who garnered valuable points for the team.

    “I was standing next to an official, a guy who has been around a long time, when that 400 relay was under way,” said Craig Brierley. “And I said to him, ‘This is why we do this!’ He said, ‘Amazing.’ ”

    “This is something they’ll all remember, forever.”