BATH — One team continued its run of dominance in the pool Saturday, while another emerged as a formidable newcomer on the scene.

The Cony girls won their fourth consecutive Kennebec Valley Athletic Conference Class A swimming championship in a dominant effort from start to finish at the Bath Family YMCA, while the Messalonskee boys used unexpected depth to win their first conference title in program history.

Members of the Cony girls swim team leap into pool Saturday to celebrate winning another Kennebec Valley Athletic Conference Class A championship title at the Bath Area Family YMCA. Kennebec Journal photo by Joe Phelan Buy this Photo

The Lewiston girls placed third, led by Taylor Belanger’s first-place showing in the 50 freestyle. She also was second in the 100 butterfly. Izzy Bellefleur won the 100 breaststroke for Edward Little, which finished fifth.

The Lewiston boys took fourth, two spots ahead of the Edward Little boys.

Cony’s Cecelia Guadalupi was named the girls performer of the meet, while Messalonskee’s Martin Guarnieri — a four-time winner Saturday — earned the nod on the boys side. 

The Cony girls scored 254.5 points to pull away from runner-up Brunswick (184) and Lewiston (181). The Messalonskee boys used a deep roster to grind out a 301-229 win over Mt. Ararat. Brunswick (175) finished third.


“The kids all swam really well, and every one of them went faster than their seed times,” Cony coach Bob Johnston said. “They knew there was a challenge here, and they swam up to the task and did better than we expected.”

“We knew it was going to be close going in,” Messalonskee coach Beth Prelgovisk added. “We worked really hard, the kids did great and pulled out some fast swims. The difference was that we had three or four swimmers in every event. We had some fast swimmers get first or second, but then we had the next tier down to score points for us, too.”

Guadalupi was one of two multi-event winners for Cony. The senior won the 200-yard individual medley and the 100 freestyle, while also swimming a leg on the Rams’ victorious 200 medley relay. Sophomore Emma Thomas duplicated Guadalupi’s efforts, taking top honors in the 200 freestyle, the 500 freestyle and helping the 200 medley relay team to victory.

Guadalupi said the victory in the medley relay — the meet’s first event — set an early tone.

“We really came together as a team,” Guadalupi said. “We hit it off really hard with our medley relay the first thing. It’s incredibly important. It builds momentum. It gives you confidence, and you know, ‘Hey, we’re here to do something. We’re not here to lose.’ We wanted to get out there and do it.”

“I’ve been doing this for 24 years, and you want to put some pressure on the kids,” Johnston added of keeping the program motivated. “You want them to be a little nervous when they get up there, because they perform better. Having these big meets really helps.”


On the boys side, Messalonskee may have snuck up on the rest of the KVAC this season with a deep roster bolstered by new faces, but the Eagles relied heavily on Guarnieri on Saturday.

The senior won the 200 IM and the 100 breaststroke, while also providing key legs of Messalonskee’s winning 200 medley and 200 freestyle relay teams. His winning time of 1:01.97 in the 100 breaststroke was a school record and shaved nearly two full seconds off his qualifying time for the meet and was enough to nip Nicco Bartone of Brunswick by 0.57 seconds at the finish.

“Martin’s 100 breaststroke was just unreal,” Prelgovisk said.

“That was my season goal, to get the team record, and I did it,” Guarnieri said. “Now I have another chance to go even faster at states (next week).”

Jadyn Arnold of Messalonskee was a three-event conference champion. The freshman won the 100 backstroke and swam on the Eagles’ winning 200 freestyle and 200 medley relay teams.

Lawrence sophomore Nate Pierce, who trains with Messalonskee, won the 200 freestyle and 500 freestyle.


When Messalonskee returned only eight swimmers from last year’s team, Prelgovisk admitted she worried about how good the Eagles could be. So, too, did Guarnieri.

By the midway point of the winter, those worries were put to rest.

Cony’s Emma Levesque swims the 100 breaststroke during the Kennebec Valley Athletic Conference Class A championship meet Saturday in Bath. Kennebec Journal photo by Joe Phelan Buy this Photo

“As the meets kept going, we won every one,” Guarnieri said. “It was like, ‘OK, let’s go get this.’ I don’t think we did anything different (Saturday), we just did what we’ve done all season. We just had the benefit of having a lot of swimmers we could put in a lot of events. That helped out.”

The Gardiner/Hall-Dale girls finished fourth overall with 173.5 points, with Edward Little (159) completing the top five. Mt. Ararat (130) and Messalonskee (101) finished sixth and seventh, respectively.

Taylor Belanger of Lewiston (50 free, 100 butterfly) won two individual KVAC titles. Cora Spelke of Mt. Ararat (100 backstroke) and Izzy Bellefleur of Edward Little (100 breaststroke) also won events.

Lewiston finished fourth on the boys side with 138 points, while a four-man Cony squad (112) was fifth. Edward Little (75) and Gardiner/Hall-Dale (58) were sixth and seventh at the end.

Mt. Ararat’s Caleb Williams won both the 50 free and 100 butterfly events. Bartone was the 100 free champion.

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