Cony swimmer Emily Kennard competes in the 200-yard individual medley during a Jan. 27 swim meet against Brewer at the Kennebec Valley YMCA in Augusta. Joe Phelan/Kennebec Journal

The central Maine swimming scene brought plenty of thrills, and the Cony girls brought home a few more items for the trophy case.

Rams sophomore Emily Kennard took home Class A state titles in the 200-yard individual medley (2:14.35) and 100 backstroke (1:00.94), and anchored the Rams’ title-winning effort in the 400 freestyle relay with Annabelle Orth, Addison Burnham, and Lillian Choate. 

Cony finished fourth overall as Camden Hills won the state crown for the second straight year.

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

The honors didn’t end there. Burnham, a junior, captured Kennebec Valley Athletic Conference Class A titles in the 200 free (2:03.75) and the 500 free (5:33.46), winning female swimmer of the meet honors in the process a year after Kennard won it.

Cony finished fourth at the state meet and third at the KVAC meet.


“Addison is the kind of person who shows up on time already with a smile on her face,” Cony assistant coach Kaitlyn Reny said after the KVAC meet. “She’s a great teammate, cheering on the others, and she really deserves it (the award).”

Cony’s boys weren’t left out, either. Junior Jameson Russell turned in top-10 performances in the 100 backstroke and 100 butterfly at the Class A meet, while freshman Reid DeJongh was sixth in the 100 freestyle at the state meet.

Messalonskee’s swimmers also turned in a strong showing this winter. The girls placed seventh at the Class A meet, where Chloe Masse (50 freestyle), Liana Arnold (100 backstroke) and Emma McDowell (100 backstroke) placed in the top 10; the Eagles also had strong performances in the 400 free relay (sixth) and the 200 medley relay (seventh).

On the boys’ side, senior Sean McCafferty placed in the top five in the 100 backstroke and 200 free at the Class A meet, coming off a second-place showing in the 100 backstroke at the KVAC meet. McCafferty plans to continue his swim career at Maine Maritime Academy, Eagles coach Carrie Thurston said.

Both Messalonskee teams finished second at the KVAC meet.

“We have some really strong swimmers and we have some developing swimmers, and they work well as a team to make sure everybody reaches their full potential,” said Thurston, whose boys roster also included an exchange student, Matvei Ivashchenko. “We had a number of kids that worked really hard during the offseason, and I think that showed when we cameo the KVACs, because we had some swimmers that just had more time in the pool.”  


Nokomis senior James Branaugh, who swims unattached but practices with Messalonskee, finished second in the 50 free and seventh in the 100 butterfly at the Class A meet.

Jameson Russell of Cony competes in the 100-yard butterfly at the Class A championship meet on Feb. 21 in Brunswick. Derek Davis/Portland Press Herald

“People like James work incredibly hard,” Thurston said. “He works hard for himself, but he also works hard to help develop skills on the swimmers on our team. Even though he can’t compete in relays, you want him to have those opportunities, so we did as much as we could to get exhibition relays (with the Messalonskee swimmers).


• Gardiner/Hall-Dale freshman Addison Pollis won the 100 free at the KVAC Class B meet and was fourth at the Class B meet (55.97 seconds), where she also was third in the 50 free. Teammate Amelia Knapik won the 500 free at the KVAC Class B meet and turned in top-10 showings in the that and the 200 free at the state meet. The Tigers finished eighth out of 21 schools in Class B.

•  Waterville-Winslow junior Andrew Turlo placed second in the KVAC B meet in the 200 IM and the 50 free, and also was runner-up in the 100 breaststroke at the Class B meet.

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