East Hampton/Pierson Boys Swimming Just Wants to 'WIN' - 27 East

East Hampton/Pierson Boys Swimming Just Wants to ‘WIN’

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East Hampton/Pierson boys swimming returning seniors include, from left, Daniel Rossano, Luke Tarbet, Nicky Badilla and Ottavio Petrosino.    KYRIL BROMLEY

East Hampton/Pierson boys swimming returning seniors include, from left, Daniel Rossano, Luke Tarbet, Nicky Badilla and Ottavio Petrosino. KYRIL BROMLEY

Tenzin Tamang is another key returning senior swimmer for the Bonackers this season.    MICHAEL HELLER

Tenzin Tamang is another key returning senior swimmer for the Bonackers this season. MICHAEL HELLER

Drew Budd on Dec 7, 2022

For East Hampton/Pierson boys swim coaches Craig Brierley and Brian Cunningham, winning means everything — but not in the sense that one might think.

The coaches use the acronym WIN — What’s Important Now — just about every day to teach their swimmers all the different ways they can be “winning,” and they let the rest sort itself out.

“In competition, winning is everything and every season we hope for a league title and state-level accomplishments,” Brierley said. “We also want the boys to learn how to win and what it takes to be a winner.

“As coaches, Brian and I want to give the boys everything we can in order for them to be successful,” he added. “They have to decide what success is on an individual basis. As coaches, we can only ask for their absolute best, and we will help them on that path. The outcomes of their efforts will take care of themselves.”

After a successful season a year ago in which the team went 4-2-1 in League II, 4-3-1 overall, the Bonackers had a pair of league champs in the now departed Aidan McCormac, who has since graduated along with Daniel Piver, and Tenzin Tamang, one of the handful of returning swimmers this season. East Hampton was represented by eight different swimmers at last season’s county meet, but not one was able to qualify for states, which they are trying to change this season.

That charge is led by Tamang, who already has county meet qualifying times this season in three different events (200IM, 50 free, 100 free), but he has a solid group behind him in returning fellow seniors Daniel Rossano and Luke Tarbet, who were selected as captains just prior to the season, juniors Rock Hamada, Emmett McCormac, Cameron Mitchell, Jack O’Sullivan and Owen Robins, and sophomores Sam Piver, Cristian Sigua and Abe Stillman. Nicky Badilla, who has already qualified for counties in four different events himself (50 free, 100 free, 100 fly, 100 back) and Ottavio Petrocino, another pair of seniors, leads the handful of Pierson swimmers returning, along with sophomore Jack Ziemer. East Hampton junior Ares Jenkins, freshman Liam Knight and sophomore Wyatt Smith, as well as Pierson eighth-grader Nicholas Chavez and junior Jayden Greene are all new to the team this season.

The Bonackers are going to have to navigate through what is a new League II this season after many schools throughout the county over the past two seasons or so have combined, such as Hauppauge combining with Smithtown and Deer Park combining with North Babylon. Such moves moved those teams up to League I, forcing a pair of perennially strong League I teams in Half Hollow Hills and Ward Melville to move down to League II. Lindenhurst, Northport, Sayville/Bayport-Blue Point and West Islip round out the rest of the league this season. As Brierley noted, his team is by far the smallest in terms of enrollment size in the league and therefore the county.

In also a bit of a change from previous years, East Hampton/Pierson will have three quarters of its nine scheduled meets in the books prior to Christmas, with just three meets left when the calender turns over in January. The Bonackers are already 2-1 overall this season, having defeated Central Islip, 91-54, in their season opener on November 22 and Deer Park/North Babylon, 95-74, on November 29. Then, this past Thursday, December 1, the Bonackers had their first league meet of the season at Ward Melville. The Patriots won the tightly contested meet, 89-80.

As they do after every meet, Bonac captains select a Swimmer of the Meet after each match. Against Central Islip, Emmett McCormac was selected with the honor for his efforts in the 500-yard freestyle and 100-yard breaststroke, having won both. The captains noticed how much time he dropped in both races and were impressed with his stamina, especially in the 500, because it was so early in the season.

Petrocino was chosen as the Swimmer of the Meet in the win over Deer Park because of his effort in three different swims. He had a personal best in his 50-yard backstroke portion of the medley relay, a personal best in the 100-yard backstroke and was able to come back and swim lead-off in the 400-yard medley relay, all while not feeling 100 percent.

The young newcomer Chavez was chosen as Swimmer of the Meet after the loss at Ward Melville due to his many contributions to the team through the first weeks of the season. Chavez has competed in three to four events each meet so far this season and the captains were impressed by his 200-yard individual medley race, in which he finished third in a personal best time. He also finished fourth in the 100-yard freestyle in another personal best, and led the 400 free relay with a best time that helped the team finish second. And he had a personal best time in the his 50-yard butterfly leg of the medley relay.

“We all look forward to what Nicky will continue to bring toward his team’s successes,” Brierley said.

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