As state championships took place last week at De Anza College, PCC’s best swimmers and their head coach Terry Stoddard felt satisfied with the results, even though this time around there weren’t any winners. Both PCC women and men placed 21st overall out of nearly 40 other colleges, with 47 and 49 points respectively.
Stoddard was pleased with how things went this time. He says that he is most proud of the way swimmers dealt with the peak meet, by being there, and the way they handled the prelims, finals, and the stress; he said that they had a winning mindset and he’s most proud of that.
“Carmen [Ung] did very well. She missed .16. We can’t even time a tenth of a second,” Stoddard said. “Both girls tied here at the previous invite, so we already knew that it was going to be a close race. They both went to the log, just the other person had her fingernails there ahead of her. However, she’s the best [female swimmer] ever in the history of PCC, by breaking the school record. We set the standards for breaststrokes here at Pasadena City College.”
Ung felt that there were a lot of expectations on her going into State Championships. A lot of her peers, her teachers, and her coaches wanted her to come back as the number 1 winner, and that didn’t happen, but she says that she wasn’t disappointed at all.
“I think that I left everything in the pool, I did the best that I could, and so did my competitors,” said Ung. “I’m really happy with the times that I ran, because the biggest accomplishment for me was dropping time, which reflects on my training during the season, and I think that was a big take-away from the meet. Racing against others fast swimmers was also really fun, but being able to drop time made me really happy.”
Ung is mostly proud of the 200 breaststroke race, because she feels that was her weakest event at the meet. Ever since she started swimming, she could never figure out that race, and she felt that this time at State she swam the perfect race. She even dropped 4 seconds from her previous best time. She got fourth place in the 50 yard freestyle, second place in the 100 yard breaststroke receiving a silver medal, and fourth in the 200 yard breaststroke. The 100 and 200 breaststroke were really close races, they live streamed the entire meet, and they uploaded it on Youtube. (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cO37VhShErMstyle) also (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WfyBoXD9T0A)
“It was just me and this girl who was the top seed, the fastest one, for the 100 yard breaststroke,” said Ung. “I lost by .16 so you can’t even see it. It was really close. I was kind of disappointed, but then, I was also happy with how I performed. In the 200 breaststroke, everyone went at about the same time. I ended up getting fourth.”
Carmen points out that sometimes part of it it’s also the swimmers’ height. The girls she raced against were taller and bigger than her.
“Overall, I was really proud of the way I performed,” said Ung. “It was a remarkable meet and experience, because I was able to take out all the pressure and have fun, and being relaxed made my performance 100 times better.”
PCC Swimmer Michael Humphrey also scored very well, he was third and got the bronze medal for the 400 IM (individual medley), and he continued to go faster for conference. According to him and Stoddard, that is the most grueling race, because they change disciplines, so they do all 4 strokes, 100 of each, and it’s really difficult to change from one to the next, because they have to move different muscle groups.
Humphrey was the fourth or fifth fastest swimmer for PCC, and was fourth in the 200 butterfly on the last day. Teammate Harrison Tin won his best time, since he also swam faster than he did in conference at the last meet.
“Going into the meet, I had zero expectations, because if I did, I feel like I’d be a little too nervous,” Humphrey said. “I did that before our Conference meet, and I was nervous. So, this time around I didn’t expect anything, and I did well.”
The first day Michael placed third in the 400 IM, and according to him it’s probably the best race he has ever swam; it’s all 4 strokes: 100 butterfly, 100 backstrokes, 100 breaststrokes, and 100 freestyle. And he had to do it twice, so it was really challenging.
“I did better at State than I did at Conference,” said Humphrey. “At finals I placed third overall. I was so mentally calm, I had everything under control. The third day, I placed fourth. I’m very happy about my performance.”
Humphrey placed tenth in the 200 yard IM, dropping 1.03 seconds. He only dropped time at one of the events, although according to him, dropping time wasn’t really one of his expectations, nor goals. His goal was to place as high as he could, and to put in his best effort.
“All three of them handled well the intensity of the State Championships,” said Stoddard. “Prelims in the morning and Finals at night, and all 3 came back and swam faster in the finals; they did all the things you want to see in a peak performance.”