The Waterville swim team may be hard pressed to repeat second place finishes for its boys and girls in the Kennebec Valley Athletic Conference Class B meet this year for a couple of reasons.

“We’re going to be lucky to hang onto that,” Waterville coach Bob Johnston said. “We’re kind of short on numbers, but we’ve got some quality kids,”

Another reason is the addition of Morse, a perennial Class A power, to Class B this season.

“They really reloaded,” Johnson said. “They beat the Brunswick boys a couple of weeks ago.”

Waterville senior Ben Wehry has already qualified for the state meet in the 100 and 200 freestyle events while senior freestyler and breaststroker Adrian Rivas is among the best in Class B. The team will also improve with the return of junior Emmett deMaynadier, who is away from school during the first semester. Sophomore Alan Baez has also shown promise so far in the butterfly and sprint freestyle events.

On the Waterville girls team, junior Kayla Redman has been the best swimmer for the Purple Panthers so far, excelling in the individual medley and backstroke. Margaret Reisert, another junior, has qualified for the state meet in the 500 and 200 freestyle while sophomore Kathryn Bernier, who didn’t compete on the team last year, has been another pleasant surprise.

“We’ve got some good freshmen,” said Johnston, citing twins Olivia and Spencer Jones.

Waterville takes on Morse on Tuesday and wraps up it pre-Christmas schedule Friday at Belfast. On Dec. 23 at 7 p.m. the team will host its annual alumni meet at the Alfond Youth Center that also includes Messalonskee and Winslow. Johnston said the event is open to anyone who wishes to compete as long as they bring a can of food for the Waterville Food Bank.

“They’re short events and they’re fun events,” he said.

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The Messalonskee boys and girls won their first two meets, beating Winslow and Edward Little. The girls have two outstanding performers in junior Kristy Prelgovisk and senior Allison Fischang.

Prelgovisk won the KVAC Class A title in the 100 breaststroke and 100 butterfly last season and placed among the top three in those events at the state met.

“She is focusing on her off strokes,” Messalonskee coach Sara Rushton said. “She’s qualified for everything she’s swum.”

Fischang like Prelgovisk, is a versatile swimmer, her best events being the 200 and 500 freestyle in which she finished second last year at the KVAC meet.

Junior Daeghan Elkin and sophomore Ben Thibert lead a boys team that’s a little short on numbers. Like Prelgovisk and Fischang, they’re both versatile all-around swimmers.. Elkin’s specialties are the freestyle sprints while Thibert is strong in the breaststroke and 500 free.

The Eagles have a meet against Cony on Friday.

“I think we’ll give all the teams a good run for their money,” Rushton said. “The girls should be near the top (of the KVAC) and the boys have some outstanding individuals.”

• • •

Winslow graduated the majority of the boys team that finished fourth at the KVAC meet last season and only has five competing this year. Junior Harrison Clark has qualified for the 100 breaststroke while Logan Vashon, another senior has swum well so far. Tim Speropolous is on the cusp of qualifying in the 100 backstroke while sophomore newcomer David Grant has also impressed.

“I’m very happy with the way these kids have come together,” Winslow coach Dave Setchell said. “We’re going to get outnumbered by people but the number of events they’ve qualified for this year is way beyond anything I could have imagined.”

The girls have 11 swimmers, who were outnumbered in a loss to Messalonskee but came back to defeat Belfast.

“We were really wound up about that,” Setchell said of the Belfast win.

Sophomores Sierra Hopkins and Jess Greeley have already qualified for the state meet along with senior Bethany Winkin and freshman Paige Smith.

The Black Raiders meet Erskine at the Kennebec Valley YMCA in Augusta on Friday.

Gary Hawkins — 621-5638[email protected]Twitter: @GaryHawkinsKJ

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