VALLEY GLEN — Though the Flintridge Sacred Heart Academy swimming team placed third in the Mission League, it still had athletes capable of stepping up to first on the individual stage.
Among those were freshman Katie Altmayer and sophomore Emily Balog. While it's natural for underclassmen to be intimidated competing at the varsity level, neither backed down Thursday afternoon during the Mission League finals at L.A. Valley College.
The duo stepped up in a big way, as Altmayer and Balog each won one individual event and helped a relay team take first.
Altmayer captured the 200-yard freestyle in a CIF-consideration time of 1 minute 56.44 seconds and Balog won the 100 breaststroke in a consideration mark of 1:10.57. The duo earlier paired with Meg Ryan and Eva Dulcich to take the 200 medley relay in a consideration time of 1:55.11.
"I wanted to stay relaxed going into the freestyle and then swim as fast as I could and hold on in the end," Altmayer said. "Starting off in the relay, which is always fun, got me off to a good start.
"That gave me a lot of confidence going into [the 200 freestyle]. It will be exciting to go on and compete [in the CIF Southern Section Division I prelims]."
The Tologs will next participate in the prelims at 10 a.m. Thursday at Belmont Plaza pool in Long Beach. The final will be held at 6 p.m. May 13 at the same venue.
Balog also proved she could handle competing against some tough competition. In the breaststroke, she led virtually the entire race.
"I tried to improve my time [from the league prelims Monday]," said Balog, who clocked 1:11.14 in her heat. "I didn't want to put a lot of pressure on myself, so I just focused on trying to swim my best."
Flintridge Sacred Heart Coach Steve Bergen said the Tologs could count on Altmayer and Balog.
"I've known Katie for a long time," Bergen said. "She's put in the work all year and it's paying off at the right time and she's a special swimmer.
"With Emily, she took sixth last year in the breaststroke and then she comes back to win a championship. She's real cerebral. She likes to think her races through."
The Tologs had three second-place finishes in individual events. They also had a second-place performance in the 200- and 400 freestyle relays.
Meg Ryan, a sophomore, placed second in the 100 freestyle (56.64) and the 100 backstroke (1:01.19). Altmayer had a consideration time of 5:10.37 in the 500 freestyle.