BATH — The Cony High School girls swimming team won it all last year, as the expression goes. But the Rams didn’t win everything.

One prize eluded them. Even as Cony chased and eventually won the Class A state championship, the Kennebec Valley Athletic Conference title went instead to Brunswick, by a mere 10 points.

“Last year we were so close,” junior Gabby Low said.

This time, disappointment gave way to dominance. Cony won nine of the 11 events Saturday at the Bath Area Family YMCA, posting 296 points and crushing a field that included Brunswick (174), Messalonskee (160), Lewiston (128) and Mt. Ararat (128).

“It’s unbelievable,” said Low, who along with teammates Cecilia Guadalupi and Talia Jorgensen won a pair of individual events. “This year, we came into it and were like ‘We can do this.’ It felt so, so great to win … especially since it kind of slipped out of our hands last year.

“We want the big title, but the little title means a lot to us too.”


Coach Jon Millett, who was named both the KVAC boys and girls coach of the year, said the title was a good indication of how his team is performing with the state championships a week away.

“It’s a nice stepping stone,” he said. “The kids showed up today and they swam really well. I think we put ourselves in a nice position for next week. We’ve got some good seed times going in, and they’re going to be able to match up well against the other teams.”

Brunswick, led by a pair of wins from Matt Yost and Brian Hess, won the boys title with 256.5 points, finishing ahead of Waterville-Winslow (223), Messalonskee (202.5), Lewiston (152) and Cony (146). The Rams’ Nathan Berry was named the performer of the meet, earning conference titles in both the 50-yard freestyle (22.37 seconds) and 100 backstroke (54.68) after a shaky start in the 200 medley relay at the start of the day.

“This is so much right now,” he said. “I didn’t expect to win KVAC swimmer of the meet. I felt like my first race was not where I wanted it to be. … It kind of made me feel a negative feeling for this meet, but then I picked it up.”

The Cony girls never needed any such turnaround. The Rams dominated from start to finish, with Low helping Cony sweep performer of the meet honors after winning the 100 butterfly (56.06) and 100 backstroke (56.89), with the victory in the latter event coming by more than six seconds.

“I was so happy with how my races turned out,” she said. “These are my two events, I swim them every year. But to win those, and by the margin I did, especially in the backstroke … it kind of felt surreal.”


Guadalupi raced to victory in the 200 free (1:56.58) and 500 free (5:13.73), with the 500 victory coming by a whopping 22.72 seconds.

“Previously, I hadn’t been a distance swimmer. It was only last Friday that I went 5:15, I dropped 16 seconds off my best time,” she said. “I had a big breakthrough … and it gave me a lot of confidence to know that I could go that fast and I could hold that pace.”

Jorgensen raced to wins in the 200 IM (2:15.93) and 100 free (55.07), waiting until the last leg of the latter event to pull away, while Cony’s 200 medley (1:54.45), 200 free (1:44.59) and 400 free (3:49.31) relay teams also took first. Cony also got strong performances from Amanda Jorgensen (second 50 free, first 100 free) and Tessa Jorgensen (fourth, 50 free) to make the rout more pronounced.

One of the few events Cony didn’t win provided one of the surprises of the day. Gardiner/Hall-Dale’s Laura Molesworth was seeded fourth in the 50 free but upset the field, shaving more than a second off her 27.87 seed time to get the win in 26.58 seconds.

“I’ve been working all year to get that time,” said Molesworth, who worked on her pull through the water and kick time to trim off those precious split-seconds. “I knew I was there if I pushed myself.”

On the boys side, Berry appeared unchallenged while pulling away in the 50 free (22.37), but he needed to sweat out every stroke of the 100 back before winning with a time 54.68 that edged out Lewiston’s Lennon LaBelle’s 54.91.


“The backstroke was a really fun race,” he said. “I haven’t gone that fast since the Bowdoin Open in December. It always helps to have someone good. I always swim better with competition beside me.”

The swimmer he beat in the 50 free, Waterville-Winslow’s Jake Witham, had a good day of his own. Witham followed up his runner-up effort in that race by winning the 100 free at 51.99, giving the junior his first KVAC title.

“Honestly, I like the pressure,” said Witham, who was the top seed in the 100 free going in. “I like having a lot of pressure, I like knowing that I have a standard to keep.”

Witham fell short of making it two victories when he finished behind Berry in the 50, but he still impressed the Cony junior.

“His stroke is way faster than mine,” he said.

Waterville-Winslow had another winner in John Reisert, who took the 500 free (5:08.10, beating his seed time of 5:16.47) while also placing second in the 200 IM (2:09.40).


“It’s the mentality of the meet. There’s just something different about being at this meet,” he said. “It just helps you step up to the challenge. … The last two practices we tapered, just so we weren’t sore going into this meet and could go as hard as we can.”

Messalonskee’s 200 free relay team of Martin Guarnieri, Nathan Ruel, Edmund Couture and Nate Perkins took first place at 1:39.08. The Eagles also had a second-place finish from Couture in 200 free, while Kenzie Burton was the girls team’s top swimmer with second-place finishes in the 100 fly and 200 free.

Cony’s Ethan Overlock was second in the 500 free, while Gardiner/Hall-Dale’s Madisyn Curran took second in the 100 breaststroke. Second-place finishes also went to the Waterville-Winslow 200 medley and 400 free relay teams on the boys side, and Messalonskee’s 400 free relay team on the girls side.

Drew Bonifant — 621-5638

Twitter: @dbonifantMTM

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