After bringing an outright Mission League title back to Flintridge Sacred Heart Academy for the first time in five years in 2012, the Tologs swimming team will look to keep it locked up this season.
“We obviously had a great season last year, winning the Mission League championship is always our goal,” Flintridge Sacred Heart Coach Steve Bergen said. “That’s certainly first and foremost this year. ... Now, this year we have a target on our back and everyone is going to be gunning for us as the reigning league champions.”
The Tologs, who finished 5-0 in league last year, certainly have some talented swimmers leading the charge, highlighted by returning sophomore Kirsten Vose, junior Katie Altmayer and senior Emily Balog. Sacred Heart will also get a big boost from Bergen’s highly-touted freshman Kate Herrill.
Even with all the returners, Bergen admitted league will be a big challenge, as always.
“We're not as deep as we were,” he said. “We still have our top-end talent, but we had six seniors last year. None made CIF, but they made us really hard to beat in dual meets. We're a little more vulnerable in duals.”
Sacred Heart’s goals extend outside of league, after a 14th-place in CIF Southern Section Division I a year ago. The Tologs should get a boost in CIF and throughout the year from diver Caroline Bender, who advanced to CIF last season.
“At CIF, we'd love to be top 10,” Bergen said. “The Orange County teams we swim against come at you in waves. We're not ready to compete for a CIF title yet.”
Crescenta Valley will look to wrap up its sixth straight Pacific League title this season under first-year coach Brent Danna, but its goals go deep into the postseason, Falcons junior Iva Icheva said.
“I think we really have a good chance of taking one of the top spots and maybe taking home the title,” said Icheva, who had a pair of top-eight finishes in the 50 freestyle and 100 backstroke en route to CV taking 16th as a team in Division II last year.
CV will be aided in that process by incoming freshmen club swimmers Heather MacDougall and Tiare Coker, who swim at the Rose Bowl Aquatics Center. The Falcons also return senior Katie Benson and junior Jesse Gabor.
“I think there is depth,” Icheva said. “You can’t win a high school meet with just three club girls, that’s not realistic. We do depend on everyone.”
After a fourth-place finish in the Prep League a year ago, Flintridge Prep is taking an individual approach to this season with several swimmers expecting to compete at CIF.
Rebels Coach Ryan Goto said he expects Jennifer Langen and Lauren Au, a junior and sophomore, respectively, to lead his team this year.
“We really want to focus on individual goals: getting times down, getting those personal records and making sure their strokes are refined,” Goto said. “I am confident the majority of the team will make CIF times this year.”
Glendale is taking a similar approach this season with two seniors at the helm, Biyouregh Boghozian and Maddie Corpuz.
“Both are four-year varsity swimmers with tremendous talent,” said Glendale High Coach Forest Holbrook, whose team took sixth in the Pacific League with a 1-5 record in 2012. “Biyouregh will lead our girls in breaststroke and freestyle sprinting, while Maddie will be specializing in the 500 freestyle.”
After an 0-6 run through league last year, Hoover will look to build some momentum under Kevin Witt.