BATH — The new Edward Little/Leavitt co-op swimming program has made its presence felt this winter.

And it did so again Saturday at the Kennebec Valley Athletic Conference Class A championships.

The EL/Leavitt boys won the title Saturday at the Bath YMCA. The Red Eddies finished with 243.5 points, while Mt. Ararat finished second with 203.5. Messalonskee was third with 148 points. Lewiston placed fifth.

“It’s absolutely amazing,” Edward Little/Leavitt coach Scott Morrison said. “Twenty years of coaching, finally won one, that’s our first. The kids swam so fast today, it was a great team effort.”

Camden Hills won the girls title in dominant fashion, finishing with 335 points. Cony (190 points) finished second while Brunswick (176) was third. Lewiston finished fourth, with 125 points, and Oxford Hills placed ninth.

Emily Kennard, Lunden Dinkel, Emma Crosby and Annabelle Orth helped the Cony girls edge Camden Hills in the 200-yard medley relay (1:56.05).  Kennard was outstanding for the Rams, winning the 200 free (2:00.77) and 100 backstroke (59.89). She was named the girls swimmer of the meet.


New Camden Hills coach Mark McCluskey said his girls team rose to the occasion Saturday.

“I’m honestly just psyched for them,” he said. “They bought in to what we were practicing, from what we were trying to do from Day 1, with maturity that, frankly, I didn’t have when I was in high school. I swam in a collegiate program (at Howard University in Washington, D.C.), and I just tried to do with them what we did in college. That’s a tough challenge for some kids that are just trying to have some fun after school. But they understood that if they put in the time and the effort, they would see the results, and they did (Saturday).”

The Edward Little/Leavitt boys battled throughout the morning with Mt. Ararat, so much so that one event — the 200-yard individual medley — ended in a tie. Edward Little/Leavitt swimmer Andrew Casares and Mt. Ararat’s Keegan Rowe both swam the race in 2:03.45.

Mt. Ararat’s Keegan Rowe, top, and Edward Little-Leavitt’s Andrew Casares swim the freestyle leg on their way to a tie at 2:03:35 for first in the 200 yard individual medley during the Class A KVAC championships Saturday at the Bath YMCA. Joe Phelan/Kennebec Journal

“I don’t know if I’ve ever seen it before, except maybe the 2016 Olympics,” Casares said. “It’s crazy. I went up there, I was confident. (Rowe’s) seed time was a little bit lower than mine, so I knew I just had to keep my pace. I see him in front of me and I’m freaking out in the backstroke. So, in the breaststroke, I just gave it everything I had. I knew he was a really good freestyler, I tried to get a lead on him. Then I just busted my butt on last 50 (yards) in the free and did everything I could to bring it home. I’m really happy with it, a tie is not a loss.”

Casares would later win the 100 butterfly (54.19) and was a member of the winning 400 freestyle relay (3:34.91). He was aided by teammate Chase Leonardo, also a member of the 400 free team. Leonardo won the 500 free (5:15.27). Casares was named the boys swimmer of the meet.

“It means everything (to win the team title),” Casares said. “These past three years, I’ve been working really hard on the team, recruiting. We’ve got the co-op this year with Leavitt and it’s an absolute blessing for the team. I give a lot (of credit) to Scott Morrison. He’s done a lot of recruiting, a lot of coaching to make this team better.”


Edward Little nearly won the boys title by itself last season in the KVAC virtual meet but formed a co-op agreement with Leavitt this winter.

“It just makes everybody faster,” Morrison said. “I think a great example was that 400 free relay. That was made up of two kids from Leavitt and two kids from (Edward Little). They just blew away their best time by 20 seconds.”

Other notable boys performances included Nokomis’ James Branaugh, who won the 200 free (1:57.30) and finished second in the 50 free (23.46) to Mt. Ararat’s Aidan Saunders (22.96).

“I felt pretty confident coming into today,” Branaugh said. “But you always have to be ready for those surprises (during races). You’ve got to go into it with confidence, but also the humility that I always have to try.”

Poland’s Cameron Lemieux, as a non-scoring swimmer, had the second-fastest time in the 100 backstroke.

The Messalonskee boys won the 200 free relay with Jadyn Arnold, Logan DeRaps, Nigel Thurston and Sean McCafferty. Arnold also won the 100 backstroke (55.50).


The Camden Hills girls were dominant from start to finish, picking up five wins in individual races and two relays (200 and 400 free). Sadie Woodruff won the 200 individual medley (2:21.57); Karla Upham won the 50 free (26.29) and 100 butterfly (1:03.49); Rana Abess won the 500 free (5:40.62); and Sarah Van Lonkhuyzen won the 100 free (56.49).

“(The 200 free relay) was definitely our most (nerve-wracking event),” Van Lonkhuyzen said. “But we’ve got some feisty swimmers.”

Hebron Academy’s Emma Frumiento, another non-scoring swimmer, was second-fastest in the 50 and 100 freestyles.

Lewiston’s Fiona Landry scored third in the 50 and 100 freestyles and was part of the Blue Devils’ third-place finished in the 200 free relay.

Morrison was named boys coach of the year, while McCluskey was named girls coach of the year.

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