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Apr 9, 2018 4:30 PMPublication: The East Hampton Press & The Southampton Press

Purcell Leads East Hampton YMCA Swim Team To Best Ever Finish At Short Course Nationals

East Hampton YMCA swimmers at the National Short Course Championships in Greensboro, North Carolina.  URSULA MCNAMARA URSULA MCNAMARA
Apr 10, 2018 9:10 AM

The East Hampton YMCA Hurricanes swim team wrapped up what was its most successful season to date at the YMCA National Short Course Championships at the Greensboro Aquatics Center in Greensboro, North Carolina, on April 3-7.

The Hurricanes were represented by a program-record seven swimmers—the previous high being four—and were led by one of their veterans, Maggie Purcell of Southampton, who placed ninth in the country in the 100-yard breaststroke (1:03.18) and 16th in the 200-yard breaststroke (2:18.90). Both finishes were the highest ever for the Hurricanes program—made up of a number of East End youth swimmers ranging in age groups from 8-under to 15-19—and both placements were high enough to score points, the first time that was ever accomplished by a Hurricane swimmer as well.

Ethan McCormac of East Hampton (competing in the 200-, 50-, and 100-yard freestyle races) was the only male representative for the team, while Purcell (200 breast, 50 free, 100 free, 100 breast) was joined by fellow female swimmers and East Hampton residents Jane Brierley (100 breast), Julia Brierley (100 breast), Oona Foulser (relays) and Sophia Swanson (200 free), as well as Hampton Bays resident Caroline Oakland (200 free). Purcell, Oakland, Swanson and Jane Brierley made up East Hampton’s 200-yard individual medley relay team, while Purcell, Foulser, Oakland and Swanson competed in the 200-yard freestyle relay. Both McCormac and Jane Brierley each made the cut for next year’s Nationals, where Hurricanes swim coach Tom Cohill expects to bring even more swimmers.

According to Cohill, each of the swimmers had their best times in their individual events or time trials.

“It was our most successful Y Nationals to date,” he said.

Purcell, along with Oakland and Isabella Swanson of East Hampton, are graduating, or aging-out, of the YMCA program. Purcell will continue her swimming career at the University of Richmond. Cohill said it’s safe to say that she is the most decorated swimmer to ever go through the Hurricanes program.

“She has been amazing,” he said. “She had a great team to support her, especially the other two graduating seniors, Caroline Oakland and Bella Swanson, but also the other athletes on the trip. It’s good to be at a big meet with your friends and teammates. We had our biggest contingent of athletes yet and those numbers will continue to grow because of the hard work of people like Maggie, Caroline and Bella.

“Like other swimmers on our team in the past, [Purcell] has done something no one else on the East End has done before, blazing a path for other athletes to follow. We are looking to continue to push that path all the way to Olympic trials, and one day, the Olympics.”

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