LOS ANGELES — With just four events remaining in Tuesday's Mission League double-dual meet, the Flintridge Sacred Heart Academy swimming team's grip on the league championship was loosening.
Defending-champion Alemany, which entered the meet at Loyola High as the last undefeated squad in league besides the Tologs, had closed a double-digit lead down to five points after Sacred Heart was shut out of the top two spots in the 500-yard freestyle.
No one had seen the Tologs' best yet, it turned out, as Sacred Heart swept the final four events to quickly remove all doubt about who now holds the crown.
The Tologs easily bested Chaminade, 119-37, but, most importantly, defeated Alemany, 100-69, to cap a perfect 5-0 league run and claim the program's second league title in the last three years and first outright since 2007.
"It feels good with the team coming together," said Tologs freshman Kirsten Vose, who won the 200-individual medley in 2 minutes 12.56 seconds and came up big down the stretch of the meet, swimming in the winning 200-freestyle and 400-freestyle relays, as well as winning the 100 breaststroke in 1:08.26. "I was just thinking [about] going fast, trying my best and just to get the points for the team."
The 200-freestyle relay team gave the Tologs an immediate spike following the post-500 free intermission, with Eva Dulcich, Vose, Emily Balog and Katie Altmayer taking first in 1:59 and the Tologs' 'B' team taking second place in 2:09.04.
Meg Ryan then won the 100 backstroke for Sacred Heart in 1:03.25 before Vose's breaststroke win, coupled with Balog's runner-up finish in 1:10.19, gave the Tologs a large lead going into the final relay.
"We knew the breaststroke is our best event — we've got two of the better breaststrokers in the Valley — and I had kind of saved our big guns for the final two relays," said third-year Sacred Heart Coach Steve Bergen, who led the Tologs to a league co-title in his first season before the team slipped to third last year. "I hoped we would win the [200-medley relay], but when we didn't, I knew if we were up by 10 or 15 at the halfway point that we would be able to pull away like we did."
Altmayer, Ryan, Balog and Vose finished the meet strong with a win in 3:43.93 in the 400-freestyle relay that saw Balog open up a lead over the 'A' team from Alemany (3-1) in the third leg before Vose widened the final margin to 2.52.
"Steve talked to us a lot about getting out there and racing and trying our best," Vose said.
Sacred Heart also got wins from Altmayer in the 200 freestyle in 1:57.31 and Balog in the 50 freestyle in 25.79.
"You want to beat the defending champions and that's what we did," Bergen said. "We kind of had this date circled, we knew it was going to come down to this.
"It's an honor to beat Alemany. It's a really big challenge and we're thrilled that we did it."
Glendale resident and Loyola senior Fred Abramyan set a pool record with his win in the 100 butterfly in 52.06.Copyright © 2015, Los Angeles Times