East Hampton Senior Jane Brierley Claims New York State 100-Yard Breaststroke Title - 27 East

East Hampton Senior Jane Brierley Claims New York State 100-Yard Breaststroke Title

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East Hampton's Jane Brierley was a county champion in the 100-yard breaststroke nearly two weeks ago and has now added a state title in the same event to her name.   RON ESPOSITO

East Hampton's Jane Brierley was a county champion in the 100-yard breaststroke nearly two weeks ago and has now added a state title in the same event to her name. RON ESPOSITO

East Hampton senior Jane Brierley was state champion in the 100-yard breaststroke.

East Hampton senior Jane Brierley was state champion in the 100-yard breaststroke.

East Hampton's Jane Brierley was a county champion in the 100-yard breaststroke nearly two weeks ago and has now added a state title in the same event to her name.   RON ESPOSITO

East Hampton's Jane Brierley was a county champion in the 100-yard breaststroke nearly two weeks ago and has now added a state title in the same event to her name. RON ESPOSITO

Drew Budd on Nov 19, 2022

Last year, Jane Brierley made the decision not to swim for the East Hampton/Pierson girls swim team. The now senior said it was a difficult decision, but one that had to be made.

“I love swimming and my teammates — most of the girls on my team I have been swimming with for a long time — but I had a lot going on between home, school, and my club team [the East Hampton YMCA Hurricanes] and was feeling stretched too thin,” she explained. “I put a lot of pressure on myself. My swimming goal for last year was to work hard toward a Division I college commitment for swimming by the end of my junior year, and I wanted to focus my training on that. And it paid off.”

It certainly did.

Brierley won the state title in the 100-yard breaststroke in 1:03.75 at the New York State Swimming and Diving Championships, which were held at the Webster Aquatic Center this past Friday and Saturday. Brierley, seeded second going into the meet, was the only swimmer to finish under 1:04 in the finals. Pearl River senior Mary Grace Guzzino, who finished ahead of Brierley in preliminaries by less than a second, placed second in 1:04.22.

Brierley said that even though she was seeded second and expected to do well, things change once everyone gets in the pool.

“In swimming, 1/100th of a second changes the outcome and expectations quickly,” she said. “Combine that with the fact that every girl I was in the pool with were also very accomplished swimmers.

“I would call it a combination of surprise, relief and gratitude rolled into one, if that makes sense.”

East Hampton head coach Craig Brierley, no relation to Jane, said it was an extremely close race, as expected, but that his swimmer raced the way she always does.

“100 percent,” he said. “She’s a real competitor when it’s time to race. It’s a very strong quality of hers.

“But did we expect her to win? I never talk to athletes about winning because we can’t control that,” Coach Brierley added. “They have to control what they can control, which is what happens in their lane. It’s a matter of giving their best effort and letting the results take care of themselves. We don’t talk about winning, just controlling what you can and giving it your absolutely best effort. And Jane did that.”

Jane Brierley is now an All-American consideration with her state title in hand. Coach Brierley said that’s a program first. To earn All-American honors outright, swimmers have to hit certain times, Coach Brierley explained. If not enough swimmers across the nation fulfill those time slots, those who are an All-American consideration get bumped up to All-American, so time will tell if Jane receives those honors or not.

Regardless, it is thought that Jane is the first Bonac swimmer ever to win a state title, something she is proud of.

“I know East Hampton has produced some very accomplished swimmers. I train, basically, every day and swimming has been a big part of my life since I was 10 years old,” she explained. “So, winning the state title in the 100 breaststroke is huge. It is a great honor and represents the results of a lot of hard work, dedication, and determination from both me, my parents, and my coaches, who are the best.

“It is also a little bittersweet — it was my very last swim for the East Hampton Bonackers.”

Brierley was one of five Bonackers who made the trip north this weekend. She was joined by fellow senior Camryn Hatch and sophomores Ava Castillo and Lily Griffin who all competed in the 200-yard medley relay together; teammate Elizabeth Daniels made the trip as an alternate.

The 200 medley relay was the very first race of the meet. The Bonac quartet had the second fastest time in the preliminaries at 1:49.43, about two seconds or so faster than their seed time, and only second to fellow Section XI team Hauppauge/Smithtown. But the Bonackers were disqualified in the finals, along with another Section XI team Commack, as well as Saratoga Springs.

Coach Brierley said, in a bit of a roller coaster moment, that he and the girls had gone up to the awards room thinking they finished second as their time had indicated. But one of the girls happened to check the live results on her phone as they were waiting and it said “DQ.”

Apparently, Coach Brierley said he found out shortly thereafter, that one of the girls had left early, leading to the disqualification.

“They needed dual confirmation for that. Two officials have to see the same thing,” he explained. “They have two officials at each lane so they’re looking just for that.

“They swam great, though, and that was the other thing, they took off time again from their preliminary race,” Coach Brierley added. “Smithtown was in first — we’re all in the same section so we’re friends — and we put a lot of pressure on them. Their coach was, like, “Oh my God!’ But that was quite a shock. I felt so bad for the girls, but kudos to Cami and Jane. They had to swim individually after that and compartmentalize that and just deal with it. You’re going to have emotions, you have to deal with them, put them aside and move on and fortunately they were both able to do that.”

Hatch also competed individually in the 100-yard backstroke in which she finished in 59.32 seconds which placed her 24th in the state. Coach Brierley said it was an improvement from Hatch’s performance last year at states which was nice to see.

As for Jane Brierley, she had mentioned turning those efforts she took by not swimming for the school team into a Division I college commitment. After swimming in her final season with the East Hampton Hurricanes, she’ll turn her attention to the University of North Carolina-Asheville, which she committed to last June.

“Go Bulldogs!” she said.

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