With all that the East Hampton/Pierson/Bridgehampton boys swimming team had accomplished this season—an undefeated League II regular season, League II champions, second place in Suffolk County, all program bests—the only way to really finish off the season right was for the four remaining Bonac swimmers competing at the New York State Swimming and Diving Championships at the Nassau County Aquatic Center in East Meadow this past weekend to do something that had never been done before: reach the podium.
East Hampton senior Ethan McCormac—as he has done throughout his four-year career—accepted that challenge head-on, and became the first Bonacker to reach the podium at a state meet in not just a single event, but two. He placed third in the 100-yard freestyle by finishing in a personal best 46.23 seconds, and fifth in the 200-yard freestyle, finishing in 1:42.
“While training, Ethan has great focus, a punishing work ethic, and accepts any challenge put in front of him,” East Hampton head coach Craig Brierley said of McCormac, who received the team’s MVP award for the third-straight year at the team’s award night on February 27. “Ethan also displayed great value to the team through his leadership abilities. He led by example both in the water and out, earning the respect of his teammates as they voted him a team captain.”
On top of McCormac’s individual performance, the Bonackers also had a 200-yard freestyle relay team compete at the meet that was held on both Friday and Saturday. McCormac was joined by his younger brother Owen, a sophomore, East Hampton junior Aidan Forst and Pierson senior Ryan Duryea. The team qualified for the ‘B’ final, in which it placed 18th in the state in 1:28.93.
East Hampton placed 23rd as a team and helped Section XI (Suffolk County) place fifth among the state’s 11 different sections. Ethan McCormac earned All-State All-County individual honors for his efforts this season, as did the 200 free relay team. The 200-yard medley relay team of Owen McCormac, Joey Badilla, Jack Duryea and Colin Harrsion and the 400 free relay team of Fernando Menjura, Edward Hoff, Forst and Ethan McCormac were both All-League this season. And the following individuals were All-League in their respective events: Ryan Duryea (200 IM, 100 breast), Harrison (50 free), Hoff (100 free) and Owen McCormac (50 free) and Badilla (100 back).
Ethan McCormac is currently undecided on what he will do in the future in regard to possibly swimming in college, but Ryan Duryea has committed to swimming at Roger Williams University in Rhode Island. Brierley said at the team’s award night last week that Duryea, along with all of the seniors , will be sorely missed.
“Ryan brings so much value to our team. He is the ideal student-athlete and a role model for those who value and pursue athletics, academics, and character on a high level,” he said at last week’s event. “In the pool, you have always been a major contributor to the team, whether at practice and giving your best effort, or shouldering very challenging meet responsibilities and accepting those challenges every time with a determination that any coach would be proud of. On the dry side, Ryan adds so much value through his commitment to the team, his leadership abilities and his positive attitude.
“He is a genuinely good person, and it has been a true privilege to have coached you these past five years,” he added.
McCormac and Duryea will be joined at graduation this June by fellow seniors Ryan Bahel, Thor Botero, Ramsis Jimenez, Kenny Sanchez, Luke Tyrell and Jordan Uribe, many of whom were on the team the past four or five years.
“The boys represented themselves and their schools with great pride and East Hampton/Pierson/Bridgehampton swimming is very strong with a bright future for our sport in both our boys and girls programs,” Brierley said.