Practice makes for Tologs dominance

LA CAÑADA FLINTRIDGE — There's been a change in how the Flintridge Sacred Heart Academy swimming team goes about its practices and workouts this season and it's led to some dominating victories.

None have been more impressive than the one the Tologs had over Notre Dame Academy Tuesday, as they won every race at home for a 75-19 nonleague victory.

"This is my third year [with the team] and this is the best we've worked in practice," Sacred Heart Coach Steve Bergen said. "I think they're starting to see what we do during the week in the early mornings and late nights pays off when we get into meets so we're off to a good start."

Eva Dulcich, a senior, was key to the Tologs' success as she set lifetime bests in the 50 and 100-meter freestyle races, finishing in 25.46 and 57.68 seconds, respectively.

Prior to this season, Dulcich had always seen herself as a water polo player first. It's all starting to change as she continues to have success in the sport of swimming.

"I hadn't really swam ever until my sophomore year and I wasn't really that confident in it until I started doing well," Dulcich said. "Today has been my best day of the season."

Her time in the 50 free was good for CIF Southern Section Division I consideration, which is set at 25.70. Dulcich's next goal is to make an automatic time, which is 24.90.

"She's never made CIF consideration in any individual race before," Bergen said. "A week ago she had never been under a minute [in the 100 free] so she's starting to figure it out, too. She's working hard in practice and it's starting to pay off for her and she's a senior so I couldn't be happier for her."

Dulcich also helped Sacred Heart's 200 medley and 200 freestyle relay teams to victories. Haley Shewfelt, Emily Balog and Monica Pernicky won the 200 medley in 2:00.43 along with Dulcich, who teamed with Claire Mudie, Balog and Pernicky for a first-place finish in the 200 free with a time of 1:47.81.

Balog also had a big day with victories in the 200 individual medley (2:14.94) and 100 breaststroke (1:09.02).

Shewfelt delivered another Sacred Heart victory in the 100 backstroke with a time of 1:08.08 before teaming with Pernicky, Sarah Hughes and Hannah Walleck for first place in the 400 freestyle relay in 4:06.08.

Hughes, Walleck and Altman collected the Tologs' three remaining wins for a perfect finish. Walleck swam the 200 free in 2:13.74, Hughes swam the 100 butterfly in 1:04.58 and Altman completed the 500 free in 5:49.83.

The first true test for the Tologs comes Thursday when they travel to Pierce College to take on Louisville, which defeated them last year, and open up the Mission League.

"It's time to get serious with league on Thursday," Bergen said. "We have some work to do. This was kind of our last warmup to get ready for Thursday."

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