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Campbell carves her niche

La Cañada High's Katy Campbell only got better in the pool her junior season, winning a CIF-SS Division I title and two Masters titles.

July 07, 2011|By Andrew Shortall, andrew.shortall@latimes.com
(Tim Berger Staff…)

The 500-yard freestyle is usually a test of endurance for swimmers. Katy Campbell, who just finished her junior season with La Cañada High, refers to it as her "sprint event."

Campbell swims the mile with her club team, Swim Pasadena, which is based out of Pasadena City College. The 500 freestyle will always hold a special place in her heart, though.

"I always talk about the 500 as kind of my baby in a way," Campbell said. "It's what I first won CIF in and I've won it ever since freshman year."

Campbell came into her junior campaign looking to win the 500 at the CIF Southern Section Division finals for the third year in a row. She knew that wouldn't be easy, though, after La Cañada was bumped up from CIF Southern Section Division II to Division I this year.

"I really wanted to win CIF Division I [in the 500] and I knew all the girls I was racing were amazing athletes," Campbell said. "I knew that's what I needed to work on in my high school meets and to improve and get faster."

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Campbell kept carving her niche in the 500 freestyle deeper and deeper this year. She didn't just win the Division I title in the event this year at the Belmont Plaza Pool in Long Beach, she won it with relative comfort. Her time of 4 minutes 43.04 seconds was more than two seconds faster than the second-place finisher. She also took third in the 200 freestyle that day with a time of 1:49.07.

As if her season wasn't impressive enough, Campbell went on to win the 200- (1:48.66) and 500 freestyle (4:46.05) races in the CIF Masters Meet, which was held at the William Woollett Aquatic Center in Irvine.

Tiffany Quash, first year coach of the girls' swimming team at La Cañada, was impressed by Campbell's ability to excel in two such different events.

"For someone to go out and sprint the 200 and come back and win the 500, an endurance event, is not common," Quash said. "The only thing they have in common is they're both freestyles."

Thus, Campbell's incredible junior season earned her the title of the 2011 All-Area Girls' Swimmer of the Year by the sports editors and writers of the Burbank Leader, Glendale News-Press and La Cañada Valley Sun.

The groundwork for Campbell's success in the pool has been laid out by her whole family. Her mom used to swim, her dad played water polo and her brother, Alex Campbell, was a standout swimmer at La Cañada. He won the boys' 100-yard freestyle at the CIF Southern Section Division II championships last year.

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