Sacred Heart moving on with new class

Girls': FSHA and CV look to be area's top teams as locals chase league, CIF glory.

March 03, 2011|By Gabriel Rizk,

GLENDALE — There are quite a few changes from last season, as it relates to the area's girls' swimming scene.

Two of the area's finest individual talents, Flintridge Sacred Heart Academy's Andrea Kropp and Glendale's Katalina Sher, are no longer around and Crescenta Valley and Flintridge Prep have gone in new directions with coaching.

With a senior-heavy squad, Sacred Heart enjoyed the most success of the bunch last season, but just because Kropp, the reigning News-Press Female Athlete of the Year, is winning titles at Princeton now, Tologs Coach Steve Bergen sees no reason why his team can't continue to win titles in the prestigious Mission League.


"Andrea certainly was the face of the program last year, but she was also part of a class that graduated seven girls last year that, as a group, won three league championships in four years," Bergen said of a class that also included Madeline Talt, Briana Swinney and Christina Brandt. "It's certainly a lot to replace them, but the best thing about us is that over the years we have been able to rebuild.

"We're significantly younger than we were last year. …Depth is even better this year than it was last year for us."

Sacred Heart returns only two seniors, but Bergen will look to find his team's star power in the underclass. Freshman Katie Altmayer is already garnering hype as the next phenom to possibly carry on Kropp's tradition.

"[Altmayer] will break many school records in our freestyle events before she's done," Bergen said. "She'll probably have all four freestyle school records before she graduates.

"She's not quite Andrea-good right now, but she will be by the time she's a year in. We've never really had a freestyler like her. Our freestyle relay is going to be much better this year because of Katie."

A pair of returning sophomores, backstroker Meg Ryan and breaststroker Emily Balog, will also be key to getting the Tologs' relays back to the CIF Southern Section Division I finals and scoring points in league meets.

"They were on our medley relay team that went to the Masters Meet last year, but they were only freshmen," said Bergen, who also returns All-American diver Emily Boyd. "We're hoping they learned from [last year's seniors] and they begin to take the leadership position this year."

The Tologs shared the league title with Harvard-Westlake last season and this year's league chase figures to be open, as seven of the eight individual league titlists last year were seniors.

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