When the Waterville and Winslow high school swim teams meet on Friday at the Alfond Youth Center pool, it could be the last competition between these rivals.

At last week’s Waterville school board meeting, Waterville athletic director Heidi Bernier brought up the possibility of the programs merging to form a co-op team next season. Declining participation in swimming and declining enrollment were cited as factors.

Waterville swim coach Bob Johnston said he’d be in favor of a combined Waterville-Winslow swim team.

“I think it would be good for the programs, and good for the schools,” Johnston said. “This season, we’re running combined practices with Winslow, and that’s working well.”

Winslow coach Matt Reed also said it’s time for the teams to merge.

“I think it’s what the schools need to do,” Reed said. “You put the teams together, and you have one really good team.”

As this season progresses, Johnston is pleased with the way his small but talented boys team is developing. Five of the seven boys on the team have qualified for states, Johnston said: John Reisert, Carter Jones, Spencer Jones, Alan Baez and Isaiah Bernier.

“We have the flexibility to put them in any event,” Johnston said.

On the girls side, newcomer Leah Shoulta qualified for states in the 100 backstroke and 200 individual medley. Katie Bernier qualified in the 200 freestyle, and Machaela Laramee has comepted well in freestyle and butterfly events.

The Purple Panthers have four meets left in the regular season, beginning Tuesday at Camden against Belfast and Camden Hills. After Friday’s meet with Winslow, Waterville ends a tough regular season schedule against Messalonskee and Gardiner.

“We’ve been swimming against a lot of Class A schools,” Johnston said.

With just six swimmers, the Winslow girls have struggled this season against deeper teams. Last week, the Black Raiders picked up a big win against Gardiner.

“They’ve had a rough season because we have so few girls,” Reed said. “Just getting a win was nice for them.”

Reed said he experimented by putting swimmers in events in which they normally don’t compete in the Gardiner meet, and it worked. Riley Pooler won the 500 freestyle, and Jess Greeley won the 50 freestyle.

• • •

A pair of freshmen are off to fantastic starts for the Cony girls swimming team.

According to times posted on maineswimming.wikispaces.com, Cony freshman Talia Jorgensen has posted the top time in Class A this season in the 100 breaststroke, 1:11.57. Jorgensen also has the best time in Class A in the 500 freestyle, 5:28.94. Jorgensen has the third-best 50 free (25.54 seconds), second-best 100 butterfly (1:00.68), second-best 200 individual medley (2:15.86), and third-best 100 freestyle (54.96), ranking her just behind Cony teammate Anna Guadalupi in the event.

Gabby Low, another Cony freshman, is ranked third in the 100 butterfly (1:02.65), fifth in the 100 freestyle (56.84), fourth in the 200 freestyle (2:04.28) and second in the 100 backstroke (1:00.90).

The veteran Guadalupi is having another outstanding season. The junior is ranked second in Class A in the 100 freestyle (54.95), fourth in the 100 backstroke (1:01.68), fifth in the 200 individual medley (2:19.94) and fifth in the 500 freestyle (5:36.57).

Travis Lazarczyk — 861-9242

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</URL>Twitter: @TLazarczykMTM

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