With the 2014 South Coast Conference Championships less than two weeks away, both the men and women’s swim teams are prepared and ready to make another big splash against the SCC’s elite swimmers.
The Lancer women are coming off an impressive output at last week’s Pasadena Invitational, despite being without 2013 SCC Swimmer of the Year Shannon Cheung. Cheung missed the Pasadena Invitational with the flu.
“We just wanted to go out there and do our best and I think we did that,” sophomore swimmer Arolyn Basham said. “Even though we didn’t have Shannon, we just wanted to treat it like a normal meet.”
Although the Lancer women didn’t win any events, they showed their depth by scoring 297 points to finish fifth among 17 colleges.
“We were a little bit stuck in our times in the 50 and the 100,” head coach Terry Stoddard said. “We’re kind of still there in the 50, but the take away from that is we need to rest a little more. The 200-freestyle was exceptional. I think the take away is we’re on track to have a good conference and maybe qualify for state.”
In Cheung’s absence, freshman swimmer Connie Peng proved to be an important piece of the Lancer swim team. At the Pasadena Invitational, Peng placed second out of 55 swimmers in the 50-yard backstroke with a time of 28.72.
“I’m very happy with Connie’s results.” Stoddard said. “I really see a lot of talent and competitiveness in her. She’s fun to coach and very fun to watch race.”
Peng was just one stroke behind winner Kiersten Shew of Mt. San Antonio (28.62). Peng also took third in the 100 backstroke (1:02.36), fourth in the 50 butterfly (27.57), fifth in the 100 butterfly (1:01.70) and 14th in the 50 freestyle (26.03).
“She’s competing against some of the best swimmers in the conference and the state and it’s fun to watch her grow.” Stoddard added.
For the men, freshman swimmer Mohammad Esmaeilian recorded a personal-best of 1:45.13 to take first place in the men’s 200-yard freestyle. Esmaeilian’s victory was the highlight of the meet as he won the race from the eighth lane.
“It was very surprising,” Esmaeilian admitted. “Seven people had better qualifying times than I did. After the first 100 I realized I was in first place and I told myself I have to keep going and finish strong.”
Esmaeilian also won the meet’s Crescendo Award with the combined fastest collective time in the 50, 100 and 200 freestyle events.
“Mohammad is an excellent athlete,” Stoddard said. “He’s what we call coachable. It’s very exciting and fun as a coach to have a talent that is coachable and able to realize their results.”
The Lancers placed 10th out of 14 teams with 114 points. Mt. SAC won the team title and Orange Coast won the women’s team title in the meet that took place April 4-5 at the PCC Aquatic Center.
The 2014 SCC Swimming Championships are scheduled for April 17 through April 19 at Mt. SAC.