With all the success enjoyed by the La Cañada High boys' swimming team this season, standing out as an individual from that squad is no small accomplishment.
Junior Ian Mirisola was among those celebrating exuberantly on the catwalk of Belmont Plaza pool in Long Beach, as the Rio Hondo League-champion Spartans received the CIF Division II championship May 12.
He was also one of a select few to return to Belmont Plaza for the Southern Section Masters Meet days later based on his strong individual performances.
In 2007, Mirisola showed his ability to excel as part of a winning team while helping the Spartans' defending-champion 200-yard medley relay team repeat with a Division II meet-record time of 1 minute, 35.92 seconds.
His Division II title in the 200 individual medley gave him a victory all his own, and it is for these reasons that Mirisola was voted the All-Area Boys' Swimmer of the Year by the sportswriters and editors of the La Cañada Valley Sun, Glendale News-Press, Burbank Leader and Crescenta Valley Sun.
"I just worked hard all year long and kept setting my goals higher and it worked out for me," Mirisola said. "I wanted to get a title this year. I thought I could win the 200 IM and the 100 back."
Mirisola placed third at CIF in the 100 backstroke with a Masters-qualifying time of 51.47, but realized one goal with a 1:52.21 winning time in the 200 individual medley.
He went on to place fifth in the 100 backstroke (52.64) and sixth in the 200 individual medley (1:54.56) against the best competition from all divisions at the Masters Meet.
La Cañada head coach Art Lopez maintains that the goals set by Mirisola before the season even started were the key to his success at the end of the season.
"Ian wanted to really make his mark as a junior, because this is where a lot of colleges start looking at his times and his abilities," Lopez said. "He came back and he really dedicated himself to making his high school and CIF times really stand out, and he did a great job in doing that."
As much as Mirisola did to improve himself, he was instrumental in making sure the 200 medley relay team, which included Christian Lawrence, Jerrold Lee and Wes Lewis, stayed on top.
"He is all about how he can make the team better and contribute to the team effort," Lopez says. "Ian did his part of assuring us a great lead with the backstroke."
Not one to rest on his laurels, Mirisola hopes to accomplish even more next year.
"I met my goals this year," he says, "and I'm setting new ones."
See www.lacanadaonline.com for the full list of each swimming events' top male and female performers.