Men's Swim Seeking Return To Prominence in 2017

Samuel Jo is PCC's new star men's swimmer. He won two events at the Mt. SAC Invitational Feb. 24-25, photo by Richard Quinton.
Samuel Jo is PCC's new star men's swimmer. He won two events at the Mt. SAC Invitational Feb. 24-25, photo by Richard Quinton.

Not since 2011 when it finished in eighth place at the CCCAA State Championships has a Pasadena City College men's swim team had the tools to get back to the state top tier than it does this year. The Lancers are deep in different areas and they opened the '17 season with a strong fourth place out of 17 teams at the Mt. SAC Invitational held Feb. 24-25.

Under the directon of head coach Terry Stoddard in his 18th season, PCC scored an impressive 453.5 points and only finished behind meet champion Orange Coast (third at 2016 state meet), defending South Coast Conference champ and host Mt. San Antonio in second, and San Diego Mesa (fifth at state) in third.

Freshman Samuel Jo (Loyola High) is the top talent on the 14-man roster and he opened his collegiate career in style by winning the 100-yard backstroke event (53.25 seconds) and 200 backstroke (1:56.75) title. Jo also placed second in the 100 butterfly (54.31) and 200 butterfly (2:02.63). He also helped the squad record a second place in the 4x100 medley relay at 3:41.93 and a third in the 4x50 medley relay (1:40.39), 4x100 freestyle relay (3:22.11). 

Another top newcomer is Sydney Odent, who won the 400 individual medley title in 4:17.99, added a second in the 200 breaststroke (2:14.36), and placed third in the 100 breaststroke (1:00.94), 200 IM (2:00.57), and 200 butterfly (2:02.72). Odent also swam on the the three mentioned relays.

Jayson Wilia (Glendale High), the younger brother of former Lancer women's aquatics performer Jade Wilia (2009-10), also had a fine meet with a second place in the 400 IM (4:33.33) and fourths in the 200 backstroke (2:06.85) and 200 butterfly (2:04.61). 

Sophomore David Jimenez, last year's SCC champion in the 100 and 200 backstroke, now is trying to keep pace with his faster teammates. Jimenez settled for seventh in the 100 back (57.96) and eighth in the 200 back (2:09.86). He is still a big part of the team's relays.

Cameron Sauve placed fifth in the 1,650 freestyle (18:25.55) and won his B heat (16th overall) in the 500 (5:20.02). 

Another freshman with speed is Narek Yeghikyan (Glendale), who was sixth in the 200 butterfly (2:08.47). Returning letterman Zachary Loomer was 12th in the 50 freestyle at 22.98. 

"We have tremendous depth on the roster after a couple of lean years," Stoddard said. "Clearly, Jo and Odent are going to give us plenty of team points and help us in a variety of events. It's a group where we may end up moving swimmers around in order to help us in dual meets. We had several great swims at Mt. SAC and I expect the improvements to keep coming."

PCC hosts its only home SCC double dual meet of the season on Friday, Mar. 3 against defending conference champ Mt. San Antonio and LA Trade Tech. Meet time is 12:30 p.m. at the Aquatic Center.