Cony’s Lunden Dinkel swims in the 100-yard breaststroke during the Class A girls swimming state championships earlier this season at the Don Richards Pool in Cape Elizabeth. Dinkel finished third with a time of 1:10.49. Ben McCanna/Portland Press Herald

Although no central Maine team took home swimming state crowns, there were several standout performances in the pools this winter.

The traditionally strong Cony girls had the best season postseason of any area team, finishing second at the Kennebec Valley Athletic Conference Class A meet in Bath. Camden Hills would go on to win the KVAC A title with 335 points, while the Rams had 190.

Cony picked up wins at KVACs in the 200-yard medley relay with the team of Emily Kennard, Lunden Dinkel, Emma Crosby and Annabelle Orth. Kennard also racked up victories in the 200 freestyle and 100 backstroke. She was named swimmer of the meet.

The Rams would go on to place seventh at the Class A meet Feb. 22, with Kennard finishing second in the 200 free and 100 free. Dinkel was third in the 100 breaststroke.

“For the girls, (the season) went fine,” Cony head coach Bob Johnston said. “We could use more numbers… We kind of peaked at KVACs. At states, I don’t know if we were intimidated, we just didn’t quite have the greatest meet. We were third place halfway through (states), but then we ran out of swimmers. We didn’t have anybody in the 500, or the 100 back. No 200 free relay (team), so that hurt.”

Cony will lose Dinkel, Crosby and Emma Thomas to graduation, but Kennard and Orth will both return next season.


“They’re going to be the strength of the team or the next couple of years,” Johnston said.

Cony’s Jameson Russell swims in the third heat of the 100-yard butterfly race at the Class A boys swimming state championship on Feb. 21 at the Richards Community Pool in Cape Elizabeth. Gregory Rec/Staff Photographer

Johnston said gaining bigger numbers will be the key for the Rams next season.

“I’m looking forward to next year,” Johnston said. “We’re going to try to do some more recruiting within the school to get kids to swim. We have a sports assembly here in a couple weeks, I’m going to plead with some of these Cony athletes to try swim in the winter.”

Messalonskee had a strong KVAC A meet on the boys side, finishing third with 148 points, trailing champion Edward Little/Leavitt (243.5) and Mt. Ararat (203.5). Jadyn Arnold finished first in the 100 backstroke and second in the 100 butterfly. Sean McCafferty finished second in the 500 free. The Eagles also took the 200 free relay title with the team of Arnold, McCafferty, Nigel Thurston and Logan DeRaps.

James Branaugh, a junior at Nokomis, also had a strong season, punctuated by a KVAC A title in the 200 freestyle, while finishing second in the 50 free.

Messalonskee’s Sean McCafferty swims in the 500-yard freestyle race at the Class A boys swimming state championships on Feb. 21 at the Richards Community Pool in Cape Elizabeth. Gregory Rec/Portland Press Herald

In Class B, Waterville/Winslow had a strong postseason, with both the boys and girls teams finishing third at the KVAC B meet. On the girls side, Emma Farnham won the conference title in the 50 free and 100 free. At the Class B meet, Farnham finished fourth in the 50 free and second in the 100 free. The Waterville/Winslow girls also finished second at KVACs in the 200 medley relay and third in the 400 free relay.


For the boys, Andrew Turlo won the KVAC B title in the 100 breaststroke and finished third in the 200 yard individual medley, while Sam Bernier finished second in the 100 backstroke and third in the 100 butterfly. The team of Turlo, Sam Bernier, Addison Bernier and Cormac Wilcox finished second in the 200 medley relay.

Gardiner/Hall-Dale’s Livi Pekins does the backstroke in the girls 200-yard medley relay during a swim meet against Erskine earlier this season at the Kennebec Valley YMCA in Augusta. Joe Phelan/Kennebec Journal

Gardiner/Hall-Dale proved to be strong in girls swimming, tearing up the competition during the regular season. With a young roster and big numbers, the team could be among KVAC B contenders next season, led by Livi Pekins and Caylyn Pekins.

“We’ve had a really good season, it’s nice having a big team,” Gardiner/Hall-Dale head coach Rob Pekins said last month. “We have a mixture of beginners. We have a mix of girls who have been swimming a long time.

“A lot of the girls — I’d say maybe 90 percent of the girls — can do all four strokes,” Pekins added. “Which was a huge advantage. Maybe not perfect, but a little tweaking and there you go.”


Dave Dyer — 621-5640

Twitter: @Dave_Dyer

Related Headlines

Comments are not available on this story.