Hazel Piaz/Courier - A PCC swimmer comes up for air during practice on Thursday, January 20th, 2016 at Pasadena City College. The Pasadena City College swim team is currently preparing to compete starting February.
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The PCC swim team has high hopes and ambitious goals for 2016. The team, who placed 5th in state championships last year, looks to raise their rankings and beat individual school records.

Terry Stoddard begins his 17th season as head coach with one overall goal: team success. “ We’re looking for improvement in our conference and to try to repeat our conference dual meet season,” he said. “We were fifth in state last year, as well as eighth, seventh and fifth in previous years so we want to move up in state to the top four.”

Veteran swimmer Rene Gonzalez, who spent six semesters on the team thus far, is determined to meet his personal objectives.

“My goal this semester is to make it to state for an individual event and break the school record for the 200 fly,” Gonzalez said. “The record is 1:49 and I’m at 1:58.”

Swimmer Ariahn Givens’ main objective is to drop her time in all areas. “I really want to drop my time in my 200 free and get it down to 150, and maybe even swim the 500 free this year,” Givens said. “That’s not my event, but I might go for it.”

Givens said she added time at conference last year and hopes to drop her time this year at state.

While the team has ambitious goals overall, they are also aware of potential roadblocks to their success and how to overcome them.

“Our biggest challenge is fatigue because it’s so easy to fall into laziness,” swimmer Jorje Perez said. “Technique technique technique is always something that you gotta keep thinking of, because if you lose your technique that’s how you lose on your time.”

Perez said that the best way the team stays on top of their game is through physical training. The team spends every Monday and Wednesday weightlifting, then on alternate days they do what is called “dry land” training.

Dry land is an hour and a half workout of planks, squats, lunges, medicine ball workouts and running. After dry land, they go into the water and swim.

Samuel Sanchez, another swimmer who wants to beat a school record, also hopes to trounce a certain team rival.

“My main goal is to beat Mt. Sac,” Sanchez said. “They’re definitely the coaches rival, he always says ‘BEAT MT. SAC!’ and I think we got a good enough team this year.”

Individually, Sanchez hopes to beat the school record in the 200 freestyle. The current school record is 1:41:06 and he plans to focus on setting a new one.

Coach Stoddard has a positive outlook on his team’s potential successes, especially in regards to breaking the school records.

“We’ve done a really good job with women’s records, but the men’s records are a little more stubborn dating back to 1978,” he said. “In my 17 seasons, we’ve only been able to beat one school record from the 70’s because those years we had five state champions and things were just a little bit different” he said.

Despite those stubborn records, Stoddard nevertheless has full faith in his swimmers to accomplish their goals. “I think that Samuel has a chance at the mile record for the men, and I think that Liza Echeverria and Ariahn have a good chance to get some school records for the women.”

The teams first event of the season is the SCC Pentathalon at Cerritos College on Feb. 19th.

 

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