VALLEY GLEN — While the Mission League team swimming championship won by Flintridge Sacred Heart Academy was built on depth and strategy, Tuesday's league finals were all about speed.
The Tologs showed they had plenty to burn at Los Angeles Valley College in the non-scored final meet that determined individual championships by event for individuals and relay squads.
Sacred Heart won five total titles on the day, including two individual crowns won by freshman Kirsten Vose in the 200-yard individual medley and 100 breaststroke. Freshman Katie Altmayer also won an individual title in the 200 freestyle and the freshmen duo helped the Tologs capture a pair of relay titles, along with
""It's really nice to think that we're the fastest that's ever happened [in league], it's really nice and it's exciting," said Altmayer, who swam the butterfly leg of the medley relay and led off the 400-freestyle relay. "The relays were really the highlight of the day for me."
The first three swimming events of the day resulted in championships for Sacred Heart, beginning with the 200-medley relay team, which held true to its top-seeded form from Monday's prelims in opening the meet with a win in a finals-record 1 minute 50.08 seconds that was also an automatic CIF qualification time.
"It was pretty exciting," said Vose, who helped the team cut 2.30 seconds off its prelim time and best the previous meet mark of 1:51.71. "We got out good on the first [relay], so it just kept us pumped up for the whole [meet]."
Ryan opened up a lead on the backstroke leg, which only grew during Vose's breaststroke stint. It was Altmayer who removed all doubt, however, during her dominant butterfly leg. Balog had only the clock to race against in freestyle, as she entered the race with a lead of nearly half the length of the pool.
"I felt really good and really strong," Altmayer said. "I had a good start off of Kirsten's breaststroke."
Altmayer then came right back to win a title in the 200 freestyle in 1:56.15. Alemany's Caitlyn Lozano stuck with Altmayer through the first turn, but fell a body length behind by the end of the lap before eventually finishing more than four seconds behind in 2:00.40.
"I wish I had started out a little faster," said Altmayer, who had a prelim time of 1:56.30. "The back half was definitely a little better than yesterday, but I was hoping to get out a little faster and be able to hold it."
Then it was Vose's turn for an encore. Seeded well behind Harvard-Westlake's Sydney Wong (2:11.12 in prelims) in the 200-individual medley, Vose (2:14.95 in prelims) led from wire to wire in the finals.
She entered the backstroke, admittedly her weakest of the four strokes, with a modest lead, but had doubled it going into the breaststroke. By the end of the breaststroke leg, she led by a full body length and pulled away for good during her freestyle split to finish first in a CIF-automatic 2:08.30, 2.71 seconds ahead of Wong.
"It's my best time overall from club and [high school], so that's exciting," Vose said of her 200 IM time. "[Tologs Coach Steve Bergen] told me before [the race] to go warm up backstroke because he said [Wong] would probably catch me up on that and I would have to get it back on the breaststroke. It motivated me, I really wanted to speed up ahead."
The 100 butterfly featured a highly-anticipated matchup between Chaminade's Chloe Kargodorian, Altmayer and Lozano. All three would hold a lead during the race, with Altmayer taking the early jump and Lozano taking over at the midway point and holding a lead down the stretch until Kargodorian turned it on late for the touch-out win.
"If I had swam the time I did yesterday [58.55], I would have won, which is kind of disappointing, but you win some, you lose some," said Altmayer, who finished third in 59.34 behind Kargodorian (58.60) and Lozano (58.87). "It was exciting just to be in that competitive race."
The 100 breaststroke promised to be a showdown between Balog and Vose, who entered as the top and second seeds, respectively, but it was Vose's race from the start. She finished in a CIF-automatic 1:04.71, a huge drop from her 1:08.51 prelim time, while Balog took second in 1:07.90.
The Tologs saved the best for last, winning the 400-freestyle relay in CIF-automatic as well as meet- and league-record 3:39.51, eclipsing the league (3:40.23) and meet (3:40.63) benchmarks set by Alemany in 2011.
"Steve just told me to go a 53 high, just to get out there and finish it and try to get [the league record]," said Vose, who anchored the relay in a split of 53.3 seconds. "I thought I would be able to do it."
Other top showings for the Tologs came from Ryan in the 100 freestyle (third, 56.59) and 100 backstroke (1:02.40) and diver Caroline Bender captured the league title with a score of 442.25.
"I think we could have gone a little faster [in the 200 medley], which is great, but this league has been a great swimming league for a number of years," Bergen said. "To have a meet record over all the girls who have ever swam in this league is really special."
Glendale resident Fred Abramyan of Loyola won titles in the 50 freestyle (21.42) and the 200-medley relay (1:38.21) along with Kyle Otazu, Peter Kropp and Oliver Maarse.