AUGUSTA — The Cony swim team competed in its first meet of the season Tuesday night, welcoming Waterville/Winslow and Erskine Academy to the Kennebec Valley YMCA.

And from the onset, two of the Rams’ top swimmers showed why they could be in line for a big season. Sophomores Emily Kennard and Anabelle Orth not only won their events, but they dominated them.

Kennard is coming off a strong freshman season that included a Kennebec Valley Athletic Conference Class A title in the 200 free (2:00.77) and 100 backstroke (59.89). She was also named KVAC A swimmer of the meet.

Kennard was also the Class A runner-up in the 100 free and 200 free. On Tuesday night, Kennard won the 200 individual medley (2:22.21) by 27 seconds over second-place finisher AJ Jarosz of Erksine (2:49.94). She also finished with a top time of 1:08.48 in the 100 backstroke, 16 seconds faster than Erkine’s Vic Rancourt (1:24.11).

Kennard said she wasn’t too surprised by her early success last season.

“I raced a lot of those same people in club meets and knew their times going (into KVACs),” Kennard said.


Cony swimmer Anabelle Orth makes waves during a swim meet Tuesday in Augusta. Andy Molloy/Kennebec Journal

“She works hard, she wants to win,” Cony head coach Bob Johnston said. “She’s got a real competitive spirit to her. She works hard in practice and she’s the total package (in the pool).”

Kennard said she’s excited about the upcoming season.

“The team is awesome, we all get along really well,” Kennard said.

Orth was a sprinter and a strong member of a 200-yard medley relay team that edged Camden Hills for the KVAC A title last year. This season, Orth is trying her hand at longer distances. On Tuesday night, Orth won the 200 free (2:17.68), 47 seconds faster than Meghan Mahoney of Waterville/Winslow (3:04.71). She also won the 500 free at 6:11.02, nearly 18 seconds faster than Waterville/Winslow’s Robyn Brochu (6:28.82), who finished second. Orth is actually doing double-duty this winter, as she is also a member of the school’s indoor track and field team.

“This year, she’s more interested in the distance stuff, but she still has the talent for the sprints and different strokes,” Johnston said. “She swims with us in the afternoon, goes home to eat and then goes to track practice. The schedule works out pretty well. We don’t have any (meets) on Saturdays until KVACs and states. I told her she should try the triathlon here in Augusta next summer.”

Orth said a key for success for the Rams this season is to focus on technique.


“Swim fast and work on the small things, instead of just the times,” Orth said. “A lot of us have been swimming for years. We just need to focus on the small things that can help us provide changes to our times at meets.”

Kennard and Orth continued to show their strength in the relays. Teamed with Addison Burnham and Lilliana Choate, the Rams cruised to victories in the 200 medley relay (2:04.72) and 400 free relay (4:13.89). In that final event, Cony beat second-place finisher Waterville/Winslow by 1:17.

“The diversity (of the team stands out),” Orth said. “A lot of us can do the same strokes, but a lot of different strokes, too, and we can do them proficiently as well. We can kind of play around with it and see what works best.”


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