All-Area Swimming: Keppel’s Chiu, La Caada’s Campbell earn Swimmer of the Year honors; La Caada’s Lopez, Keppel’s Perez are Coach of the Year.

Swimmer of the Year:
Brendon Chiu, Keppel, Senior
Coach of the Year: Art Lopez, La Caada
Andrew Barmann, La Salle, Senior
David Jakl, Keppel, Senior
Brandon Nguyen, La Caada, Sophomore
Christian Renfro, La Caada Senior
Stephen To, San Marino, Senior
Garrett Chin, La Canada, Freshman
Justin Chiu, Keppel, Freshman
Joe Costa, San Marino, Senior
Filip Dagkovich, Temple City, Senior
Bo Mattix, La Caada Junior

Swimmer of the Year:
Katy Campbell, La Caada, Junior
Coach of the Year: Ish Perez, Keppel
Nicole Hau, Temple City, Senior
Annika Lenz, Pasadena Poly, Sophomore
Victoria Lepesant, Pasadena, Sophomore
Sarah Olson, La Caada, Junior
Bella Schamber, Maranatha, Junior
Mackenzie Heaton, La Caada, Senior
Gwen Mathias Southwestern Academy, Senior
Elysse Pedote, Westridge, Senior
Stephanie Samudro, San Marino, Freshman
Samantha Torres, La Salle, Sophomore


SWIMMER OF THE YEAR: Keppel’s Chiu, La Caada’s Campbell earn top honors

By Keith Lair, Staff Writer

Expectations were high.

Brendon Chiu and Katy Campbell easily met and surpassed them.
Chiu helped Keppel High School’s boys swimming team to a CIF-Southern Section championship. La Canada’s Campbell had to step up in a division, but still came away with a big CIF-SS title.

For their efforts, both were selected Star-News Swimmers of the Year.

Chiu flew under the radar until it was time to perform. And what a performance he had.
The senior, who will attend MIT in the fall, was the fastest swimmer in the west San Gabriel Valley. He won the CIF-SS
Division 3 50 freestyle title in 21.12 after swimming a 20.90 in the preliminary meet.
“I was really able to drop my time in both of my events and win an individual championship,” he said. “I felt really
relieved after I won, but I was even more excited after we won the CIF title.”
It took more than one victory by swimmer for the Aztecs to win the title. Chiu tried to continue his part by finishing
second in the 100 free, the area’s second-fastest time, swimming a 46.24.
“Everything was fabulous,” he said. “Everything went according to plan. A league championship and a CIF championship. You
couldn’t ask for more.”
He swam the lead leg in the 200 free relay, which finished fourth, and anchored the CIF-SS winning 200 medley relay winning
Campbell, a junior, had to make the move from Division 2 to Division 1. She did not miss a beat, winning her third
consecutive 500 free title in 4:43.04 She won by two seconds.
She finished third in the Division 1 200 free finals in an area-best 1:48.07 and then won the Masters meet four days
“I worked hard all season and it’s a big accomplishment,” she said of her Division 1 performance. “Both (divisions are)
really competitive and I know the girls in each. We all want to be No. 1 and we all want to race each other.”
She has yet to think about selecting a college, although schools are clambering for her services.
“My mom asks me the same thing,” she said. “A lot of great schools have expressed interest. I’m really flattered. It’s
really nice.”
La Canada’s Art Lopez and Keppel’s Ish Perez have been named Coaches of the Year.
Lopez helped the Spartans to the Rio Hondo League boys title and a fifth-place finish in the CIF-SS finals. The Spartans,
and the Rio Hondo, made the move up to Division 1.
“All season we were testing different things to see what could be the best combination at CIF,” he said. “Everybody did a
great job. They dropped times and we got All-American times. We took fifth in CIF Division 1, which I thought was
“Our guys did a great job. They are true Spartans to the word. They fought to the end.”
Perez helped guide the Keppel girls to their fourth CIF-SS title in the last five years.
“We still put a lot of pressure on them to work hard,” Perez said.
“We got some really strong performances from our girls. They wanted it, but they were willing to work for it.”
The Aztecs, under Perez’ leadership, also won the CIF-SS boys title.
The Aztecs have won seven CIF-SS titles; four by the girls and three by the boys.
Other athletes on the boy’s team are: La Salle’s Andrew Barmann, Keppel’s David Jakl, La Canada’s Brandon Nguyen and
Christian Renfro and San Marino’s Stephen To.
Other athletes on the girl’s team are: Temple City’s Nicole Hau, Pasadena Poly’s Annika Lenz, Pasadena’s Victoria Lepesant,
La Canada’s Sarah Olson and Maranatha’s Bella Schamber.
Barmann, a senior, won his third consecutive 500 free Division 4 title and made it a double with a win in the 200 free.
He set a CIF-SS divisional record in the 500 free, winning in 4:28.04, three seconds faster than the previous best time. He
also won the division’s 200 free title in 1:42.37.
His 500 time was easily the fastest in the area, by 16 seconds.
Barmann swam the anchor leg on the school’s 400 free relay team, which finished sixth in the finals. He also swam the
second leg in the 200 medley relay, which finished fourth.
Jakl, a senior, scored victories in the Division 3 and Masters backstroke.
He swam an area-best time of 50.12 in the divisional prelims and won the title in 50.33. He won the Masters meet in
“It was a tough season to begin with because I had school to focus on, but as the season went on I began to get stronger
and faster and back in shape,” he said. “I ended the season great.”
Jakl took second in the division’s 200 finals, swimming a 1:30.50. He was third in the Masters.
“Out of all of our boys, he’s the one that has made the most gains,”
Perez said of Jakl.
The senior swam the opening leg of the school’s winning 200 medley relay team and swam the anchor leg of the 400 free relay
team, which finished second.
Nguyen, a sophomore, may have been the area’s best all-around swimmer.
He had the area’s fastest time in the 200 individual medley, forced to swim all four strokes. He went 1:53.82 in the CIF-SS
prelims and finished fifth in the Division 1 finals and third in the Masters.
He was ninth in the 100 breaststroke in 57.73. He also was on two relay teams that advanced to the CIF-SS finals, swimming
the third leg on the fourth-place 400 free relay team and the second leg on the 200 medley relay team.
Renfro, a senior headed to Brown, had the area’s fastest times in the 100 and 200 frees.
He won the Division 1 title in the200 free, swimming a 1:39.22. He was leading the 100 free before running of gas in the
final 25 yards.
He still swam a 46.00.
He also swam the anchor leg in the 400 free relay. The team finished fourth.
To, a senior, finished sixth in the Division 1 finals in the 100 butterfly. His time of 50.47 was the fastest in the
To also anchored the 400 free relay team that advanced to the CIF-SS finals.
Hau, a senior, had the area’s fastest 100 fly time in the Division 1 prelims, swimming a 56.83. She finished fourth in the
finals and then was fifth in the Masters. She also swam a 2:09.64 in the 200 IM to win the league title.
Lenz, a Poly sophomore, won her second consecutive diving title, setting a CIF-SS record each time.
“It was pretty successful,” she said of her year. “I was really consistent throughout and I felt like I did my best.”
She won the Masters title, setting a meet record and also won the Poly Diving Invitational, defeating Division 3 champion
and Pasadena resident Maggie Denison of Immaculate Heart and Keppel’s Lisa Li, who was second to Denison in the CIF-SS
finals. She went undefeated this season.
Lepesant, a sophomore, had top marks in four events, but finally concentrated on her best event in the CIF-SS meet, the 200
free. She was seventh in Division 2 in 1:53.56.
She won the Pacific League title in the 100 back in 1:00.72 and swam the 200 IM in 2:18.66. She swam the opening leg of the
200 free relay in the CIF-SS finals.
Olson, a senior, was the area’s fastest swimmer. She won the Rio Hondo 50 free title with a 24.15 effort and finished 14th
in the CIF-SS finals. She also was the fastest swimmer in the 100 free, winning the league title with a 53.54 swim.
Maranatha made the jump from Division 4 to Division 3 and Schamber, a junior, did not seem to miss a beat.
She won the 200 IM title in 2:06.18 and then finished eighth in the Masters. She also won the 100 breast in 1:04.11 and
then finished fourth in the Masters. Both times were the fastest in the area.
She swam the second leg of the 200 medley relay, which also won a CIF-SS title.
“It was everything I could possibly wish for,” she said. “It was exciting to see how the hard work in the offseason paid
She anchored the 400 free relay team, which finished fourth in the CIF-SS.

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  • Journalism

    Figure out how MK is STILL DIII – and how they stayed down DIV so long after winning for so many years – OH YEA’ the coach is on the CIF Decision Committee!

  • Reply to ‘Journalism’

    Bitter much? Keppel only won twice in DIV, then immediately moved up to DIII the next year. 2 titles too much for you to handle?