Kristen Vose

Kristen Vose (File Photo / August 1, 2014)

In a sport characterized by individual accomplishment in which success is most often defined by tenths of a second, Kirsten Vose's past season at Flintridge Sacred Heart Academy was hardly one that ran along traditional definitions.

In a nod to the coaching of Steve Bergen and the chemistry embodied by the Tologs, Flintridge Sacred Heart embraced the team concept and swam to an undefeated Mission League season that was unprecedented in its dominance before taking sixth at the CIF Southern Section Division I championships.

As for Vose, she won a pair of Mission League individual titles, two more in relays, was a catalyst in the Tologs' league team title, finished in the top five in two CIF individual finals and shined in the Tologs' 200-yard medley relay CIF championship.

Perhaps her most impressive statistic was that she swam to automatic All-American honors in six events over the year.

And yet the factor that might be the most telling in regards to Vose's talent is the sentiment that followed it.

"Obviously I was hoping for a little more, but we all have off days," she says of her performance at CIF finals, which equated to individual finishes of second and fifth, as well as a victory and a runner-up mark in relays.

And therein lies the level of expectation and greatness set by Flintridge Sacred Heart junior swimmer Kirsten Vose, who was voted the 2014 All-Area Girls' Swimmer of the Year by the Burbank Leader, Glendale News-Press and La Cañada Valley Sun sportswriters.

"I think she probably was a little disappointed," senior teammate Katie Altmayer says of Vose. "She has more talent than most people.

"In terms of the average person, she had a phenomenal season."

Alas, Vose has shown time and time again she's far from average in the confines of a swimming pool. But there's still no denying that Vose's 2014 campaign was of the phenomenal variety.

In 2013, she was also the All-Area Girls' Swimmer of the Year, aiding the Tologs in their first 200 medley relay CIF championship before swimming to an individual championship in the 100 breaststroke.

This season, the Tologs repeated as champs in the 200 medley, but Vose took fifth in the 100 breast, which is the largest culprit in any measure of discontent for Vose.

"Individually, I know she was disappointed," Bergen says.

With that disappointment comes further emphasis of just how high Vose's hopes have reached, right along with the Tologs, who improved to sixth at the CIF Division I finals with a 149-point standing after taking seventh the season before, but were a bit upset they didn't ascend into the top five, according to Bergen.

"The expectations now are sky high at Sacred Heart," Bergen says.

The reality of the 2014 season for the Tologs and Vose, though, is that it was an excellent one.

Flintridge Sacred Heart won its third straight Mission League title, simply dismantling its league opposition as it lost just one race in league dual meets — and that came via disqualification.

"I think it's been building. I think we've all done a really good job of focusing," Altmayer says. "We've been getting better every year; this was just the best year so far."

The Tologs' finest example of league dominance came at the Mission League finals on April 29 at the Rose Bowl Aquatics Center. It wasn't until about midway through the meet that Bergen let his Tologs know they were closing in on history.

"During the finals, I didn't even realize — halfway through I didn't even realize until Steve told us we'd won all the previous races," Vose says. "Then we were like, we have to do this."