When Colin Caraher stepped on the block for the final swim race of the afternoon, he was aware his start would have a significant meaning to the meet’s finish. It’s a position he’s familiar with.
"It’s happened three meets this season where it came down to that last relay," Caraher said. "It’s pretty stressful looking at the opponent besides you in their lane and just saying good luck to them and then go leave it all out in the water."
The situation happened again Wednesday. After a fast swim by Caraher opened the 400-yard freestyle relay, Sayville/Bayport-Blue Point won the final event to defeat host West Islip, 52-50, in Suffolk League II boys swimming.
The relay team of Caraher, Emillo Diaz, Christopher Cody and Alfonso Zavala swam three minutes, 42.67 seconds for the final victory. West Islip swam 3:49.07.
"I love that feeling and we try our best and whatever happens, happens," Caraher said. "The only thing I ask of my teammates and myself is that when I get out of that water and I know I tried my best -- no matter if I won or lost."
Caraher also won the 200 individual medley (2:13.33) and 100 butterfly (59.27). Shayan Yajadda won the 50 freestyle (24.31) and 100 breaststroke (1:05.26) and Cody won the 200 freestyle (2:05.00) for Sayville/Bayport-Blue Point (2-2).
"It’s nice to see that your hard work pays off," Yajadda said. "All of practice, everyone is giving their all, so it’s rewarding."
Yajadda said he could feel the energy of the final race, just coming off his breaststroke victory. After his win, Sayville/Bayport-Blue Point was in position to decide its own fate for the victory.
"It’s tough for the kids because they won’t usually know until right before that event," assistant coach Drew Cameron said. "It’s a lot of pressure on them, but they’ve been working really hard at practice, so it was nice to see them do it."
Brett Powell won the 100 freestyle (52.48) and 100 backstroke (1:00.24), Aidan Stueber won the 500 freestyle (5:41.65) and Kevin Nelson won the diving (271.28) for West Islip (3-1).
After all the preseason unknowns, the swimmers said they’ve adapted to the new rules and protocols and are thankful for their season.
"I’m surprised we had a season, but I’m so grateful for that," Yajadda said. "The way I was thinking, I felt we wouldn’t have meets at all, maybe just practices, but it’s been a lot better than I expected."