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Diving into top CIF action

La Cañada swim teams take talent to next level in tough Division I.

March 30, 2011|By Andrew Shortall, andrew.shortall@latimes.com

It's all hands deck for the La Cañada High boys' and girls' swim teams this season, as they have made the jump from CIF Southern Section Division II to Division I.

The Spartans boys' swimming Coach, Art Lopez, who's entering his sixth season, knows it's going to be a challenge competing against schools with significantly higher student populations than La Cañada.

"We don't have the population base to really compete at the top spot for Division I, but we're looking for a top-five or six finish and I think we can do that," Lopez said. "Everyone has to play a role in that, and that's the message we've gotten to them."

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Lopez is experimenting with all his pieces, shuffling athletes around in different events to see where they might make it into CIF competition, and where they'll make the biggest splash.

"Basically what we're trying to do is maximize our talent and see where we can get people into CIF at this point," Lopez said. "We're looking to cover our strengths and present three really strong relays."

Christian Renfro, a senior who has already committed to Brown University, is returning to help the Spartans meet their goals. The beauty of Renfro is his versatility, Lopez said.

"He can move anywhere we need him too, but he will stick with 100 and 200 freestyles," Lopez said.

Last year, Renfro took second in the 200 freestyle in CIF (1 minute 41.55 seconds), fourth in CIF 100 freestyle (46.77) and also competed in the 200- and 400-freestyle relays.

Sophomore Brandon Nguyen is also hopping back in the pool for La Cañada. He placed fourth in the 200 individual medley at CIF (1:54.45), put up a time of 58.19 in the 100 breaststroke and also swam with Renfro in the 200-medley and 400-freestyle relays.

Lopez is also looking for Garrett Chin, a freshman, to have an impact in the 500 freestyle or individual medley. Senior Matt Myers and junior Bo Mattix will be counted on to perform well in relays and help La Cañada make an impact in Division I.

"It's a challenge, but we're not going to whine or cry about it; we're going to step up to the challenge and see what we can do," Lopez said.

Meanwhile, first-year La Cañada girls' swimming Coach Tiffany Quash has been preparing her swimmers for the next level, while also getting accustomed to running her own program for the first time.

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