Teammates cheer as, from left, Gardiner/Hall-Dale’s Addison Pollis, Cony’s Addison Burnham and Erskine Academy’s AJ Jarosz do butterfly laps in the 200-yard individual medley during a meet on Jan. 5, at the Kennebec Valley YMCA in Augusta. Joe Phelan/Kennebec Journal

They may compete in a pool, but the 2023-24 season was a day at the beach for the Cony girls swimmers.

The Rams captured the Kennebec Valley Athletic conference title and placed sixth at the Class A meet this winter.

“It was a real energetic group,” Cony coach Bob Johnston said.

Addison Burnham was one of many Rams who contributed to the championship effort. The senior won the KVAC 200 individual medley title in 2:26.3 and also was part of first-place quartets in the 200- and 400-yard medley relay. It was no shock that she shared swimmer of the meet honors with Lewiston’s Gabby Roy — the second straight year Burnham won the honor.

In the Class A meet, Burnham placed third in the 500 freestyle and fifth in the 200 free, and her 200 medley relay team finished less than 2 seconds behind champion Thornton Academy at the Class A meet.

Teammate Annabelle Orth also turned in a strong season. The junior was second at the KVAC meet in the 100- and 200-yard freestyle events and also was on the 200- and 400-yard medley relay winners. At the Class A championships, she was fourth in the 100 free and sixth in the 50 free. 


Lilliana Choate (50 free), Emily Kennard (50 free) and Emily Foster (200 free, 500 free) also had solid seasons for Cony.

Burnham is graduating, but the future appears to be in good hands. Foster is a freshman, and classmate Logan Dinkel won the 100 breaststroke at the KVAC meet and was sixth in the state meet. Kennard, Orth and Choate are juniors.

The Cony boys were no slouch, either; the Rams finished third at KVACs and ninth at the Class A championships despite having only four swimmers. Reid DeJongh was second in the 500 free and fourth in the 200 free, while teammate Jameson Russell was second in the 100 backstroke and third in the 200 IM; Matteo Hardy was third in the 500 free; and freshman Raiden Ramkissoon was third in the 200 IM. 

At the Class A meet, Russell was fifth in the 100 butterfly and Ramkissoon was sixth in the 200 IM and seventh in the 100 free.

“He’s a talent,” Johnston said of Ramkissoon. “He’s going to be a good swimmer if he keeps at it.” 

Johnston also gave a shout-out to his two assistants, both Cony alumni: Nathan Berry, a 10-time NCAA Division III all-American at Bates College; and Gabby Low, who swam for four years at UConn. They gave a helping hand to a Rams team with nearly 10 newcomers, many of whom were new to the sport and improved tremendously as the season went on, Johnston said.


“Nathan and Gabby came in and did a fine job with the new kids,” said Johnston, who has coached swimming for about 30 years, the last five at Cony. “They provided a new perspective and helped get the kids fired up. It worked out fine.”

Members of the Waterville/Winslow swim team focus on instructions from coach Justin Giroux during a Nov. 28 preseason practice at the Alfond Youth and Community Center in Waterville. Rich Abrahamson/Morning Sentinel

Elsewhere, the Messalonskee girls also turned in a solid campaign, finishing third at the KVAC A meet, just 20 points shy of Cony. Cailyn Henning (second, 50 free, fourth; 100 free), Audrey Mihm (fifth in 50 and 100 free), Emma McDowell (fourth 200 IM) and Rylee Spadea (fourth, 100 breaststroke) were among the Eagles’ standouts. Henning went on to place eighth in the 50 free at the Class A championships. 

On the boys’ side, Pierce Coughlin turned in top-five KVAC performances in the 200 IM and 100 breast.

In Class B, the Gardiner/Hall-Dale girls delivered some strong performances, led by Addison Pollis, who finished second in the 50 free and third in the 100 backstroke at the KVAC meet. Pollis also placed fifth in the 50 free and sixth in the 100 free at the Class B state meet. Teammates Georgiana McCamish (100 free) and Jessie Willey (100 breast) also had top-five showings in the KVAC championships. 

The Waterville/Winslow boys, bolstered by a deep roster, finished third at the KVAC B meet. Sam Bernier (second, 100 back; fourth, 100 fly), Aaron Theriault (third, 500 free; fourth, 200 IM) and Cormac Wilcox (fourth in 50 and 100 free) were among the team’s standouts.

Waterville/Winslow coach Justin Giroux has coached Bernier since he was in the sixth grade and has been impressed by his progress, particularly in the backstroke.

“It’s been a long run, Sam and I,” Giroux said. “He has a great work ethic. Early on in his high school career, he (kind of) turned into this backstroker; we thought he was going to be a breaststroker. He just kept working at it, refining technique, and he trained really hard. It all paid off.”

Theriualt, a sophomore, has a bright future, according to Giroux: “You’re going to see some special things coming out that swimmer. He’s a really good distance swimmer. He has a really goos attention to detail.”

On the girls’ end, Waterville/Winslow senior Hattie Bouchard made strong showings in the 100 fly and 100 breast at the KVAC meet and qualified for the class B meet. 

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