Waterville and Belfast enjoy a good rivalry as two of the top swim teams in the Kennebec Valley Athletic Conference’s Class B division.

However, the Belfast boys are the favorites to defend their conference championship even though Waterville has another strong team.

“They have divers,” Waterville coach Bob Johnston said. “They are one of two teams that have divers. But that’s the name of the game. It’s not the swimming championships, it’s the swimming and diving championships. They have a chance to be 16 points ahead with the diving alone.”

Still, the Waterville boys — who finished second in the KVAC B championship meet last season — should contend.

Ben Wehry is one of the top freestylers in the state and the versatile Will Hoffman can score well in an abundance of events. Sam Zarfos should also score well in the 500 free and 100 breaststroke.

“The boys will be up there at KVACs,” Johnston said. “Belfast beat us quite handily in the season, but we could be up there.”

* * *

What a difference a season made for the Erskine girls swim team. The Eagles struggled last season to compete in the butterfly and breaststroke events, which limited its ability to challenge in the Kennebec Valley Athletic Conference’s Class B division.

That has changed this year.

“Last year we only had one or none in the butterfly and one or two in the breaststroke,” Erskine coach Sue Burke said. “We have three butterflyers and breaststrokers this year. We have three in every meet now. It’s giving us a lot of points. We are much more versatile. We’ve been able to do the medley relays because of those events.

Sami Lamoreau, Kelby Leary, Emma Wilkinson, Katherine Wight, Sarah Ellis and Raina Rauch have scored well in the butterfly and breaststroke this season.

The Eagles have won three consecutive meets — against St. Dominic, Winslow and Gardiner.

“We should do well at KVACs,” Burke said. “We’re hoping for third or better.”

* * *

The Cony girls had an interesting, if not bittersweet, meet with rival Waterville on Friday.

The Rams won nine of the 11 events, but lost the meet 89-90.

“My top four girls can match up with anybody’s top four,” Cony coach Jon Millett said. “We just didn’t have the depth behind them.”

Victoria Webber, Melissa Peterson, Phoebe Campbell and Kayley McNeff each turned in strong performances for the Rams, who are preparing for the Kennebec Valley Athletic Conference Class A meet that is about a month away.

Messalonskee will be favored to win the conference crown, but Cony will be in the mix.

“We’re getting ready for the end of the season,” Millett said. “We haven’t lost focus of where we’re going. We’ll start to dial it down a bit as the kids are reaching the peak of their training for the championship meets.”

Millett added that coaches are already strategizing for the championship meets.

“We’re moving swimmers around,” he said. “We’re having different swimmers do different events. We’re trying to peg out where we’ll swim at KVACs and states. It’s about not letting people know what you’ll do with everybody. You make it a guessing game.”

Campbell is one of the swimmers who’s been competing in an array of events.

Against Waterville, she competed in the 500-meter freestyle, an event she normally doesn’t do and beat Brianna Bernier, one of Waterville’s top swimmers. Campbell finished with a time of 5 minutes, 59.09 seconds, Bernier in 6:01.08.

“We haven’t seen that kind of speed out of (Campbell) ever,” Millett said. “It was 11 seconds off her best time. She put it all together. It adds a whole new dynamic at what she can do at championships. She’s really figured out how to run these races.”

“(Campbell) had the race of the night,” Johnston said. “It was fun to watch.”

 

* * *

The Messalonskee girls are undefeated after six regular season meets and are poised to win their first KVAC A championship.

“It should be our year,” Messalonskee coach Tom Sheridan said. “We’re so deep this year. It’d be nice to put another banner up in the school.”

Lindsey Prelgovisk leads a talented team that is well-covered in every event. She is the reigning KVAC A 100 backstroke champ.

Samantha Briggs, Amanda Joy, Kristy Prelgovisk and Samantha Mathieu are also scoring well this season for the Eagles, who finished second in KVAC A last season.

“The sky is the limit with this group,” Sheridan said. “We were able to put a lacrosse banner and a soccer banner up in the school, and it would be nice to add swimming.”

Sheridan added the Messalonskee boys, led by Arthur Conover, also should contend for a KVAC A title.

 

Bill Stewart — 621-5640

[email protected]


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