LOS ANGELES — With two of its top swimmers on the opposite coast Thursday, the Flintridge Sacred Heart Academy swimming and diving team had trouble when it came to matching Harvard-Westlake's star power.
The Tologs' ensemble cast stole the show, however, picking up a 99-77 Mission League win at Loyola High that was built more on solid depth than outright dominance.
"We definitely have a variety of specialty swimmers and even if we can't touch first in all of them, we can go second, third and fourth and that really helps us do the best we can do," said Sacred Heart junior Emily Balog, who won the 100-yard butterfly in 1 minute, 1.72 seconds and the 100 breaststroke in 1:10.72. "I think we're really motivated having this meet under our belt and we're looking forward to [the rest of] Mission League.
Including the diving portion of the meet, where Caroline Bender scored six points unopposed for Sacred Heart, the Tologs (7-0, 2-0 in league) only had first-place finishers in five of the 12 events on the day, but benefited from some strong runner-up finishes. Those included taking second and third in the 200-medley relay, Katie Altman (2:26.59) and Haley Shewfelt (2:26.62) placing second and third, respectively, in the 200-individual medley and Eva Dulcich (26.02), Monica Pernecky (26.88) and Claire Mudie (27.63) taking the second through fourth spots in the 50 freestyle.
The Tologs' other wins came from Sarah Hughes in the 200 freestyle in 2:09.45 and the quartet of Shewfelt, Hughes, Hannah Walleck and Penrecky in the 400-freestyle relay (4:02.47) in the final event of the day after the meet was already in hand.
Sophomore Katie Altmayer and freshman Kristen Vose were competing at the NCSA Junior National Championships in Florida on Friday, making the win all the more impressive in their absence, Tologs Coach Steve Bergen said.
"They won a lot more events than we did today, but I told the girls all week that without our two big guns swimming, we were going to have to win with our depth and our role-playing swimmers would need to step up to win today and they did," Bergen said. "We offset the wins.
"We knew all along that we were going to go into this league without them, but it's always our biggest meet. To go into this without Kristen and Katie and still come away with a win when so many other girls stepped up today is really rewarding."
The win over Harvard-Westlake (2-1, 1-1) was another step in Sacred Heart's march to take back league, which began with a dominant win last week over a Louisville team that upset the Tologs last year to ruin their league title hopes. Up next is Sherman Oaks Notre Dame on Thursday before the Tologs take on league champion Alemany the following week.
"We avenged that [Louisville] loss, this was a great win and now everybody comes back and next Thursday we'll be at full strength," Bergen said. "We're going to be hard to beat."
In the boys' portion of the meet, Loyola beat Harvard-Westlake, 99-86, with the help of some strong efforts from Glendale resident Fred Abramyan. Abramyan won the 50 freestyle in 21.34 and was a part of the Cubs' winning 200- (1:30.03) and 400-freestyle (3:17.92) relay teams.