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Group named All-American

SWIMMING: Members of La Cañada girls' relay team earn national honor.

August 25, 2010|By Andrew Shortall, andrew.shortall@latimes.com

Four La Cañada High School swimmers, Katy Campbell, Meghan Fuelling, Mackenzie Heaton and Sarah Olson, were pleased with their second-place finish in the 200-yard freestyle relay at CIF Southern Section Division II Swimming Championships.

It wasn't until they were out of the pool that they all realized exactly what they had done.

A combined time of 1 minute 38.54 seconds in the relay set a La Cañada record and earned the swimmers a top honor, as they were named 2010 High School All-Americans by the National Scholastic Swimming Coaches Assn.

"We knew we had done well in prelims, and just wanted to do our best in finals," said Fuelling, a junior. "We didn't realize we had broken the record until one of the parents told us after."

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The accolades kept on coming when they learned their time was in the top-130 in the United States.

"Everyone brought something different to the table, and it just came together to create something great," said Heaton, who is entering her senior year.

The fact the accomplishment was set at CIF made it all so much sweeter," said Olson, an incoming junior.

"You are more focused at CIF than at a dual meet because it's so much more exciting and it makes you swim faster. It's a completely different atmosphere. It's all or nothing and you have to step it up and swim your fastest because it's your last chance of the year," Olson said.

All four of the girls swam multiple events at CIF. Campbell, a junior, earned two other individual All-American nods in the 200 freestyle (1:49.71) and 500 freestyle (4:47.69).

"It's fun to be recognized as an All-American at the different statuses," Campbell said. "It's a lot more fun being able to do it and celebrate it as a team."

Heaton led the group out with a time of 25.13, Fuelling went second with a 25.38 split, Olson set the table for Campbell with a solid 23.95 and Campbell anchored the group with a 24.08.

The group also swam the 400 freestyle relay in a time of 3:37.40, which was good enough for fourth place.

"You want to do well for your team and not just yourself," Campbell said. "We just wanted to do as best we could representing our school."

The key to their success was their chemistry. They have been swimming together for a few years, not just in high school, but also on the Rose Bowl Aquatics club squad. Their friendship is what made them such a strong team, Heaton said.

Now the team is just letting their accomplishment sink in.

"This is pretty much my greatest accomplishment so far," Olson said. "It is huge to be recognized like this."

Next season, the group will have a shot to replicate its success. Next year is a completely different story though, since the La Cañada swim teams jump from CIF Division II to Division I, which will make for fiercer competition and faster entry times.

"We just got to keep working harder and stay dedicated," Olson said. "It's exciting to be in a division-one sport. It will be really tough, but we are strong so we will see how it goes. It will be tough to top last year but I think we can do it."

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