Andrew Casares holds the plaque that the Edward Little/Leavitt boys swimming team earned as the winner of the KVAC Class A champinoships Saturday at the Bath YMCA. This is the second year in a row that the Red Eddies won the conference title . Casares also was named the outstanding male swimmer of the mee for the second year in a row. In the front row, from left, are Chase Leonardo, Gavin Holbrook, Casares, Matthew Tabet and Gage Smith. Back row, from left, Isaac Raymond, Ethan San Pedro, Bjorn Sandberg, Noah Cote, Jack Martel, Leif Walkter and assistant coach Melissa Paione. Submitted photo

BATH — Who says repeats are boring? Try telling that to the Edward Little/Leavitt and Camden Hills swim teams.

The Red Eddie boys and the Windjammer girls used different means to capture the Kennebec Valley Athletic Conference Class A title for the second straight year Saturday at the Bath Area Family YMCA.

Edward Little/Leavitt’s Andrew Casares holds the Male Outstanding Swimmer plaque that he won and the KVAC Class A championship plaque that the Red Eddies earned Saturday at the Bath YMCA. Casares and Edward Little/Leavitt both earned the awards for the second straight year. Submitted photo

Edward Little/Leavitt’s 308.5 points nearly doubled second-place Messalonskee (158), while Camden Hills’ 264 points bested Messalonskee’s 220.

The Red Eddies’ championship featured several standout performers, led by senior Andrew Casares, who won male swimmer of the meet honors after opening the festivities with a win in the 100-yard butterfly (53.47 seconds). He also took the 200 freestyle (1:51,79) and was part of the winning relay teams in the 200 medley (1:43.67) and 400 freestyle (3:29.92).

“He’s been leading the charges for our boys team probably since freshman year,” Edward Little/Leavitt assistant coach Melissa Paione said. “It’s just his natural ability to lead and light up the rest of the team. Having him come out and win the 200 free to start out was perfect.”

Cony’s Addison Burnham won female swimmer of the meet honors.


The Red Eddies’ Chase Leonardo added wins in the 200 individual medley (2:05.72) and the 100 breaststroke in the day’s most dramatic race. Leonardo and Mt. Ararat’s Aidan Saunders swam neck-and-neck throughout and both athletes immediately looked up at the scoreboard as soon as they touched the wall. After what seemed like an eternity, the board flashed 1:01.00 for Leonardo and 1:01.02 for Saunders as the crowd gave one of the loudest reactions of the day.

“(Leonardo) is such a talented swimmer, and his favorite thing is to look up at the scoreboard and see his time,” Paione said. “This scoreboard is perfect, because there’s this slight delay and to see his face light up — that 1:01 — priceless.”

Edward Little/Leavitt’s Isaac Raymond took the 500 freestyle (5:31.20), beating out Cony’s Reid DeJongh by 2.44 seconds in a spirited battle.

While the Edward Little boys turned in several strong individual performances, the Camden Hills girls relied more on depth, which has become the custom in Rockport. Last year, the Windjammers won the Class A state title with zero individual victories, an achievement that also won them 2021-22 Varsity Maine Team of the Year honors.

True to form, Camden Hills earned only one solo win Saturday, as senior Sarah van Lonkhuyzen captured the 100 freestyle in 55.82. Rana Abess (second, 200 free and 500 free), Lily Mott (third, 100 butterfly), Sally Vannini (second, 100 free) and Lola Black (fourth, 500 free) were among the Windjammers to rack up points. The Camden Hills foursome of van Lonkhuyzen, Abess, Lucy Vannini and Sally Vannini also won the 200 free relay (1:45.43) by just over six seconds over Brunswick.

“It was incredible,” Windjammers coach Mark McCluskey said. “We had kind of a rocky start. … The other teams came out to compete today. A few of them snuck up on us, but at the end of the day, these girls really like to put their heads down and get it done. They stay on top of each other. We don’t view swimming as an individual sport where just one person is going to win everything. These girls, every single top heat, I have one of them in it.”


Cony’s girls settled for third (198 points) a year after placing second. The Rams turned in several strong individual outings, led by junior Burnham’s winning efforts in the 200 free (2:03.75) and the 500 free (5:33.46).

Cony’s Annabelle Orth swims in the 100-yard butterfly during the Kennebec Valley Athletic Conference swimming championships Saturday at the Bath Area Family YMCA. Eric Maxim/Times Record

“All I can say is, amazing,” Cony assistant coach Kaitlyn Reny said. “They got up nice and early this morning and came in ready to go. They were nervous, but they pulled through like a team. They dropped so much time, a crazy amount of time. Addison is the kind of person who shows up on time already with a smile on her face. She’s a great teammate, cheering on the others, and she really deserves it (the award).”

Sophomore Emily Kennard, who was named swimmer of the meet last year, captured the 200 IM (2:13.98) and the 100 backstroke (1:01.07). The Ram quartet of  Burnham, Kennard, Anabelle Orth and Lillianna Choate won the 200 medley relay (1:57.78) and the 400 free relay (3:50.64).

“(Kennard) was very nervous going into the 200 IM, but she dropped six or seven seconds — a crazy amount of time,” Reny said. “She was very nervous, but she got in that water and she just took off like it was her job and she was amazing for us.”

In the spirit of Camden Hills, Messalonskee relied on depth rather than individual efforts to earn its runner-up finishes. Liana Arnold (third, 100 backstroke), Emma McDowell (fifth, 100 backstroke), Chlose Masse (third, 100 breaststroke), Rylee Spadea (fifth, 100 breaststroke) and Milaika Thurston (fifth, 500 free) helped rack up points for the Eagles, while the girls 200 free relay team was third. The boys — who brought only five swimmers to Bath — received strong efforts from Pierce Coughlin (fourth, 500 free), Sean McCafferty (second, 100 backstroke) and Nigel Thurston (fifth, 100 breaststroke).

“Phenomenal,” Eagles coach Carrie Thurston said. “We had almost every swimmer PR (personal record), and had a number of swimmers advance to the states next week, so we’ve got a really good team. Everybody swam as great as they could.”

Elsewhere in girls events, Hebron Academy’s Emma Frumiento won the 50 freestyle (25.77), Lewiston freshman Gabby Roy took the 100 butterfly (1:02.69) and Brunswick’s Sarah Palmer prevailed in the 100 breaststroke (1:07.24)

For the boys, Mt. Ararat’s Keegan Rowe took the 50 freestyle (21.96) and 100 backstroke (56.51) while teammate Saunders won the 100 freestyle (50.87). The Eagles also captured the 200 free relay (1:43.34).

The Class A state meets are on Feb. 20 (girls) and Feb. 21 (boys) at Bowdoin College.

Comments are no longer available on this story