Cony girls swim coach Jon Millett has guided an abundance of great teams during his 21-year tenure.

This season, he faces an unprecedented challenge for the program: Defending a state title.

All of Class A will be gunning for his Cony girls team that took home the crown last winter. Thanks to a deep squad lead by sophomore Cecilia Guadalupi, as well as juniors Talia Jorgensen and Gabby Low, the Rams should be in the hunt again.

“We got a big, fat target on us. We don’t have any secrets. Everybody knows what we did last year and we are coming back fairly intact,” Millett said.

After losing to perennial powerhouse Brunswick 297-287 in the Kennebec Valley Athletic Conference Class A meet last February, the Cony girls turned the proverbial tables two weeks in the state meet at Bowdoin College, storming past the Dragons 311-246.

“We were devastated that we lost. It lit a fire under us,” Low said.

In the state meet, Guadalupi won the 200 individual medley (2:11.87) and the 100-meter breaststroke (1:08.68). Jorgensen won the 100 freestyle (25.01) while Low took second place in the 100 butterfly and 100 backstroke.

“I’ve been working on my underwater pushoffs because that’s where people have been beating me. They are a lot stronger and I’ve only been at it for a little while,” Guadalupi said.

The Cony boys team also returns a number of excellent swimmers, including junior Nathaniel Berry, who took second in the 50 freestyle (21.79) at the Class A meet last season. He won the event at the KVAC meet.

“My conditioning as a whole has improved as well as my endurance and weight training,” said Berry.

Cony will also look for valuable points from sophomore distance swimmer Ethan Overlock (3rd in 200 and 500 freestyle at KVACs last season).

The Waterville-Winslow co-operative teams should also be strong in Class A this season under second-year head coach Justin Giroux.

“It was really a transformative year. The team over the course of the season became one big family,” said Giroux.

The Waterville-Winslow boys team that finished second in KVAC A behind Brunswick last winter returns virtually all of its key swimmers. The team will be led by senior John Reisert (KVAC 500 freestyle champion), junior Jake Witham (6th in the 100 free at states), along with junior Carter Jones and sophomore Eric Booth.

The Waterville-Winslow girls also boast a number of quality swimmers, such as junior Leah Shoulta (4th in 200 individual medley and the 100 backstroke at the conference meet) and a host of freshmen whom Giroux is convinced will contribute immediately.

After a few rebuilding years, Messalonskee is poised to build upon its solid season a year ago when both the boys and girls team finished third at the KVAC A meet under third-year coach Beth Prelgovisk.

The Messalonskee girls will be led by several strong swimmers who turned in big performances at the KVAC A meet, including senior Sophia Libby (3rd in the 500 free), as well as sophomores Olivia Roy (3rd in the 100 butterfly and backstroke) and Leah Smith (4th in the 200 freestyle and 200 individual medley).

Furthermore, the Eagles will also welcome the return of senior standout Mackenzie Burton after she missed last season.

The Messalonskee boys will be led by sophomore Martin Guarnieri, who finished sixth in the butterfly in Class A, along with senior Tayler Croft and junior Nate Perkins.

Susan Burke’s Erskine program should also continue to improve. The girls relay teams return three of the four swimmers (senior Mayson Geboskie and juniors Nina Boudreau and Ellie Hodgkin), who will look to build upon fourth-place finishes in the KVAC B 200 free and medley relays. Boudreau took third in the 100 free (1:00.93) at the KVAC B meet.

The combined Gardiner/Hall-Dale girls program will be led by junior Madisyn Curran, senior Samantha Deans and sophomore Diane Tran.

Coach Rob Pekins is optimistic heading into the season, saying “there is definitely going to be more success than last year.”