By Timithie NORMAN
Building on last year’s success, the Crescenta Valley swim teams are back in the water and prepping for a competitive season.
The girls’ team, led by Coach Pete Loporchio, has a majority of underclassmen and will focus on the technical aspects of improving stroke and endurance.
“We do strength training and cardio and then build from that base,” Loporchio said. Last year, the team claimed an outright Pacific League title with only two first-place finishes at the league meet. This year, Loporchio is looking to several young swimmers to drive the team. Iva Icheva, a sophomore, claimed third in the 100 backstroke and sixth in the 100 freestyle in CIF in 2011.
“She is not only a great swimmer, but very academic,” Loporchio said. “She certainly gives us some stability in CIF.”
Senior Sabrina Hatzer, who qualified in the 200 IM and 100 breaststroke last year, will also boost the team’s points potential in both league and post-season competition.
“We don’t have a large number of club swimmers,” Loporchio said. “We might not have the front end CIF scores, but we are very deep across the varsity team.”
The boys’ team, led by Coach Jan Sakonju, faces a different challenge this year. After claiming nearly all the Pacific League records last season, the returning talent on the Falcon roster is undeniable. The question is if they can hold up in CIF competition where last year they took second to Oaks Christian.
“We need to figure out who our top competition will be and see if we can strategically place guys to reduce other teams’ points,” said Sakonju. “When you are going for a team championship, you have to shuffle things around.”
The swimmers being shuffled include junior knockout Young Tae Seo who last year won at the Masters Meet in the 200 IM and 500 IM. Senior Louis Wojciechowski and junior Harrison Thai also add top talent to the team. All three “can swim everything and give us a tremendous amount of flexibility,” Sakonju explained.
“Young Tae might be one of the best male swimmers we’ve ever had,” Sakonju said. “To combine that with two other guys, to have them all at the same time is great luck.”
Both teams are looking to beat league rivals Arcadia this season, with an eye out for competitive Burbank and Pasadena teams as well. The first competition is a preseason meet against San Marino this afternoon, with league contests staring at the end of March.