The Cony girls swimming team turned a few heads last winter when it raced to secnd place at the Kennebec Valley Athletic Conference Class A championships and then followed it up with a srong fifth-place finish at the state championship meet.

This season, the deep and talented Rams have every reason to be optimistic to be in the hunt for postseason crowns.

“This is the strongest team Cony has ever had,” said head coach Jon Millett.

The Rams return sophomore Talia Jorgensen, who won the 100-meter freestyle and 200 individual medley events at the KVAC A championships and then showed her versatility by placing second in the 500 freestyle at the state meet. Her classmate, Gabby Low, also had an outstanding freshmen campaign. She swam to second-place finishes in the 100 backstroke and 100 butterfly at the state meets.

Mix in an abundance of other strong swimmers — including seniors Anne Guadalupi and Molly Silsby — and the Cony girls should contend for a Class A title along with Brunswick and Scarborough.

“I think we are confident we can do it, but we can’t let it get too far into our heads and we have to practice hard,” noted Low.

Another goal for the Cony girls will be to break the state record in the 200 medley relay. The Rams shattered the KVAC record last winter (1:50.47) and then finished second to Cheverus at the Class A championships.

“We have a couple of different ways to attack that record because of the depth of our team,” added Millett.

The Cony boys return sophomore Nathaniel Berry, who turned in a strong freshmen campaign last season by taking second in the 100 backstroke and third in the 100 freestyle at the Class A state meet.

“I’m looking for him to be a state champion,” said Millett. “I’ve never had as natural of a boys swimmer as him. He is so fluid in the water.”

By itself the retirement of Bob Johnston after 21 seasons as the Waterville swim coach, with the reins being handed over to Justin Giroux, would be a big enough story to follow this winter. But Giroux will be entering his first season as the coach of a newly combined Waterville/Winslow co-operative program that will move up to compete in Class A.

“It’s been a few years in the making with numbers dropping and pool time being so expensive,” Giroux said.

The Waterville/Winslow boys team will be lead by Waterville sophomore John Reisert, who took second in the 200 individual medley and third in the 100 breaststroke in the KVAC B meet. Winslow sophomore Jake Witham is also poised for a strong season.

Messalonskee will miss Morning Sentinel Swimmer of the Year Kenzie Burton, who will be focusing on club swimming and academics this season. Yet the team will return plenty of other talented swimmers, including senior Sophia Libby and sophomores Olivia Roy and Leah Smith. For the boys team, the Eagles will look to senior Taylor Croft, junior Nate Perkins and sophomore Edmund Couture for scoring this winter.

“I’m hoping for second or third for the boys at KVACs due to our depth and Brunswick and Lewiston losing some swimmers to graduation,” said Messalonskee coach Beth Prelgovisk.

Lawrence practices with Messalonskee and is also coached by Prelgovisk.

“They are a joy to coach,” she added. The Bulldogs will be led by junior Kelsi Fortin and sophomore Erin Dowd.

The Erskine girls had their best season in recent memory last year thanks to performances from the likes of sophomores Nina Boudreau (second in the KVAC B 50 freestyle and 100 butterfly). Last winter, the Eagles broke eight school records and they look to build on that. “Our size will help us. I’m going to be able to fill events with three swimmers and not just one swimmer,” said coach Susan Burke.

Gardiner will be lead by sophomore Madisyn Curran, who turned in a third-place finish in the 100 breaststroke and sixth place finish in the 50 freestyle at the KVAC meet last season.

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