Men's Swim's Samuel Jo Tops State In 100, 200 Backstroke

Lancer Samuel Jo is so far the state's fastest in the 100 and 200-yard backstroke events, photo by Richard Quinton.
Lancer Samuel Jo is so far the state's fastest in the 100 and 200-yard backstroke events, photo by Richard Quinton.

Pasadena City College men's swimmer Samuel Jo has established hlmself as a contender for some state medals in May. The freshman recorded the state's fastest time this year in the 100-yard backstroke at 51.85 seconds and did the same in the 200 backstroke in 1:54.55 in his swims at a South Coast Conference double dual meet at Long Beach City College Friday. 

Jo also took second in the 50 freestyle (22.01) as the Lancers beat Rio Hondo, 187-71, while going to the wire before losing to host LBCC, 132.5 to 126.5. 

The Lancers (2-2 in SCC meets, 3-2 overall) were tied with the Vikings going into the final event, the 4x100 freestyle relay and after Leo Nuntapramote and LBCC's Shaun Spaulding, the respective third swimmers, reached their finish in a virtual dead heat, the meet was still knotted. But in the end it was anchor Ryan Sar outdueling Lancer Albert Khanipov as Long Beach won the relay in a time of 3:23.9.

PCC earlier had won the 200 medley relay in 1:40.47 behind Jo, Sydney Odent, Jayson Wilia and Zachary Loomer. Overshadowed by Jo's big backstroke swims was Odent, who won all of three of his events, the 1,000 freestyle (10:07.92), the 200 breaststroke (2:19.05) and the 200 IM (2:02.51). Wilia won a pair of events, taking first in both the 200 (2:03.09) and 100 butterfly (55.03). Nuntapramote was a winner in the 100 breaststroke at 1:05.42. 

"We have been really involved in some close meets, especially our win at Diablo Valley by just two points," said PCC head coach Terry Stoddard. "It's great for the team to be involved in this type of competition. It was a tough finish for us at Long Beach, but these are the type of things that prepare you for the conference championships. Each swimmer knows that a place here and a place there can mean the difference, so it serves to push us to go the maximum effort in every swim."

At the 12th Mariner Invitational held Mar. 11 at College of Marin, Jo and Odent each won three events. Jo captured top prize in the 50 freestyle (21.79), the 100 butterfly (53.09), and the 100 backstroke (53.79) while Odent took first places in the 100 breaststroke (1:00.40), the 100 IM (56.99), and the 200 IM (2:01.25). Loomer was a winner in the 100 freestyle (50.06) and Cameron Sauve was first in the 500 freestyle in 5:17.92.

PCC will face Cerritos College in a SCC dual meet on Friday, Mar. 24 at East Los Angeles College (the Huskies have a women's team so the matchup coincides with the women's meet involving all three schools). Meet time is 12:30 p.m.