Pasadena City College’s returning swimmers came back this season with a stronger mindset, earning a 2nd place rank for the men’s team, followed by the women’s team ranking 5th place in Saturday’s meet against Mount San Antonio.

According to head coach Terry Stoddard, last years defending state champion Melissa Cienega won her events which involved 500 freestyle, 400 IM, and the 1650, also known as the mile. She swam other events such as the 200 backstroke as well.

“She’s starting out faster than she started out last year,” said Stoddard. “So it’s a good place for us.”

Jocelyn Jo won her events in the 50, 100, 1500 breaststroke, placed 2nd in the 200 breaststroke, placed 3rd in the 200 IM, and 3rd in the 400 IM. This year all of her times are faster than last season.

“Teamwork makes the dream work,” said coach Stoddard. “It’s exciting to go into the specificity portion of our training to know where we are.”

Freshman Ryan Wang said he “felt pretty confident because I knew the seatings going into the meet. I could have won the 400 IM which is kind of disappointing.” Wang, who won 5 events as a freshman added that, “Other than the 400 IM, I felt pretty content with everything else.”

“The meet overall was a lot faster than last year,” Samuel Jo said. “There was a lot more competitors so I can’t wait to go back to State.”

To keep the swimmers in top notch shape throughout the season, coach Stoddard is going to work with the team by focusing on racing, fundamentals, practicing competing, and getting into the competitive spirit.

Other than having in water training, the team will participate in weight lifting and dryland training to develop strength as well as benefit individual swimmers inside their 3 hour in water practices, held 6 times a week. As far as diet goes, the team is encouraged to look at their food as fuel and incorporating 7 colors of food because it plays a huge part in restoring their energy.

“That’s pretty much all of our goals,” Samuel Jo said. “We want to win conference, we want to go to state, and we want to swim.”

“Last season I ended up being state champion in the 500 freestyle race, 2nd place in the two free,” Cienega said. “I really want to win all 3 of my events. I also want to break some records along the way.”

As coach Stoddard says, “If it’s to be, it’s up to me.”

Conference meets begin this Friday at 12:30 on the PCC campus against Long Beach and El Camino.

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