Samuel Jo Repeats As SCC Swimmer of Year; Men's Team Settles For 3rd Place

Samuel Jo once again is SCC Swimmer of the Year for 2018, photo by Richard Quinton.
Samuel Jo once again is SCC Swimmer of the Year for 2018, photo by Richard Quinton.

It wasn't what the Pasadena City College men's swim team hoped for, but the Lancers found much to cheer about at the 2018 South Coast Conference Championships held April 19-21 at Mt. San Antonio College. After a perfect SCC dual meet season, the Lancers placed third at the conference finals, finishing behind winner Mt. San Antonio and second-place El Camino. PCC has never won the SCC team championship title.

It was a big weekend for sophomore Samuel Jo, who won three events and in the process was named the SCC Men's Swimmer of the Year for the second consecutive season. Jo won the 200-yard freestyle in 1:42.99, easily winning the event by more than six seconds than the second place finisher. Jo then won his signature events, taking the gold medal in the 100 backstroke (51.06) and 200 backstroke (1:50.72). Jo set the school records in those two events when he was the 2017 CCCAA state champion in both swims as a freshman.

Jo is the eighth SCC Men's Swimmer of the Year for head coach Terry Stoddard and joins Nick Lao (2006-2007) and Sharif Alaoui (2010-11) as Lancers who captured the top conference swim award twice. Keisuke Yagi (2008) and Tai Nuntapramote (2009) were the other SCC award winners. 

Letterman Sydney Odent performed as a double event champion at the '18 conference finals with wins in the 500 freestyle (4:37.43) and the 1,650 freestyle (16:20.93), becoming the first Lancer in 16 years to capture the SCC mile title. Freshman Roman Rostomyan also was a double champion in winning the 100 butterfly in 49.92 seconds (.72 of a second off the conference record) and picking up gold in the 200 butterfly in 1:52.62. 

PCC also won the 400 medley relay (Jo, Odent, sophomore Jayson Wilia, and Rostomyan) in 3:32.22 and then scored first in the 800 freestyle relay (Odent, Rostomyan, sophomore Narek Yeghikyan and Jo) in 7:05.38. In all, the Lancers won a meet-high nine events. That matches a program-high for Stoddard teams last performed by the 2009 Lancers. 

"Samuel's accomplishment of winning SCC Swimmer of the Year in back-to-back years to go with his two state titles last year places him among the elite ever here at PCC," Stoddard said. "Ultimately we want our swimmers pushing for their fastest times, and the guys did that at this meet. We matched a program high with event wins and we had several second places, including huge swims from Chris Hunt. It's been an exciting season going back to being undefeated in conference duals. We hope to have one more great meet at state next week."

The list of second places were the 200 freestyle relay (1:29.33), the 400 IM by Odent (4:05.36), and freshman Hunt in the 100 breaststroke (1:01.92) and 200 breaststroke (2:14.65).

Jo, Odent, Rostomyan, and freshman Ryan Wang (did not participate at SCC Championships) qualified as individuals and the team's five relay squads all have made it to the CCCAA State Championships at De Anza College (NorCal Cupertino) May 3-5.

Odent has the state's second fastest times in the 500 and 1,650 freestyles and is third currently in the 400 IM. Jo has the second fastest state mark in the 200 backstroke and is fourth in the 100 (but only .07 of a second from the fastest in California). Rostomyan is fourth in the 200 butterfly. The team's 800 freestyle relay was its fastest relay at No. 6 seed in the state.