Masters presents 'fun' finale

SportsSwimmingEducationMeg Ryan

GLENDALE — It took the better part of a week, ending with the last of the divisional finals on Saturday, to establish the top boys' and girls' swimmers from each of the four divisions in the CIF Southern Section.

Over the course of several hours this evening at Belmont Plaza pool in Long Beach, those top qualifiers will compete head to head to establish sectional supremacy at the 2010 CIF Southern Section Masters Tournament, a timed-finals format meet featuring a field of the top two performers per event from each division final in addition to the next fastest 16 swimmers per event across all divisions.

The swimming portion of the meet is scheduled to begin at 5 p.m.

Flintridge Sacred Heart Academy senior Andrea Kropp will be seeded in the top four in two individual events and the Crescenta Valley High boys' team, which finished runner-up in Division II on Saturday, will have several swimmers competing, including freshman Young Tae Seo, who is a top-three seed in two individual events and a third-seeded relay squad.

"This one is for fun, there's a lot less pressure, you just kind of go for it," Crescenta Valley Coach Jan Sakonju said. "They're also having a chance to swim with the elite of Southern California. Every year we've got guys going off to NCAAs and great athletes they get to swim against. [Masters] is a great experience."

Seo, who won the Division II title in the 200-yard individual medley on Saturday, is seeded second in that event tonight with a seed time of 1 minute 50.14 seconds. Alwin Firmansyah of Cerritos (Division III) is the top seed (1:49.71).

Seo will also take another shot at winning a title in the 500 freestyle, where he finished second on Saturday.

He is the third seed (4:27.38) in the 500 freestyle behind Division II champion Brennan Jacobsen (4:24.82) of Sonora and Division I Mission Viejo's Jon Daniec (4:22.24).

But first, Seo and seniors Chris Veselich and Jason Kim and freshman Harrison Thai will chase a title as the Falcons' 200-medley relay team (1:35.65), seeded third behind Division II champion Oaks Christian (1:34.73) and Corona del Mar (1:33.26) of Division I.

"I just want to go faster than [finals] in the 200 IM and just try to go fast in the 500 free," Seo said. "Our relay goal is to break the old school record."

Kropp, who won her fourth career CIF title at Friday's Division I final in the 100 breaststroke, is seeded second in that event for Masters at 1:01.23 behind Division II Glendora's Gretchen Jaques (1:00.03).

She is also seeded fourth in the 200-individual medley at 2:00.43.

The Tologs' 200-medley relay team, which is comprised of Kropp, freshmen Meg Ryan and Emily Balog and senior Madeline Talt, is seeded 17th (1:52.21).

The seventh seed in the 100 backstroke (51.73) and the eighth seed in the 100 breaststroke (58.29), Thai will look to add some additional success to his freshman campaign.

"I'm definitely excited," Thai said. "I think I still have room to drop, so that's a good chance to finish up the season."

The Falcons will also have Josh Chi seeded 18th in the 200 freestyle (1:43.41) and 21st in the 100 freestyle (47.37).

Crescenta Valley's 200-freestyle relay team of Veselich, Chi, junior Andrew De Jong and senior Daniel Olson is seeded 15th (1:27.38) and its 400-freestyle relay team of Veselich, Chi, Thai and Seo is seeded 12th (3:11.85).

Glendale sophomore Mickey Mowry is seeded 20th (51.84) in the 100 butterfly and is a third alternate in the 100 backstroke (53.61).

Glendale's Katalina Sher, a senior, is a first alternate in the 200 freestyle (1:54.30) and a third alternate in the 100 freestyle (53.36).

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