Melissa Cienega won both the 400-yard individual medley and 500 freestyle events to help the Pasadena City College women's swim team take fourth place at the 17th Pasadena Inivitational held April 6-8 at the Aquatic Center.
Cienega put on a clinic as she also placed second in the 200 freestyle, third in the 1,650 freestyle, and fifth in the 100 freestyle. She did her parts as well on the 400 medley relay (second), 200 freestyle relay (fourth), 800 freestyle relay (fourth as anchor), and 400 freestyle relay (fifth). The freshman won the individual high points award (87) and the Iron Man title, the fastest combined time in the 500 freestyle, 400 IM, and 1,650 freestyle events.
Santa Barbara City College, one of 21 colleges participating, won the team championship with 634 points. Diablo Valley was second (559), Orange Coast third (482), and PCC was fourth (323), ahead of South Coast Conference dual meet champion Mt. San Antonio in fifth (249). PCC matched its fourth place from last year but up against more scoring colleges.
"For all the great PCC swimmers that have participated in our host event, no one has done what Melissa accomplished over the weekend," said PCC head coach Terry Stoddard. "She was a hand touch away in the 200 free from winning three events. She has the ability to continue to improve her times to reach we hope her peak at the state meet."
Cienega is the first Lancers woman swimmer to win two events at the school's host invitational. In winning the 500 freestyle, she posted a 5:16.06 time, the second fastest mark in the state this year. She defeated Orange Coast's Sierra Cox (second place), who holds the state's top time at an earlier meet. In her 400 IM victory, she again outdueled current state leader Cox with a 4:49.69 time. Cienega is now third best in California with that mark.
In the 200 freestyle, she was edged at the wall by El Camino's Cindy Ngo, 1:58.39 to Cienega's 1:58.47. Cienega swam faster at a previous meet to be third in the state in the event (1:57.76). Her 18:30.16 time for third in the mile swim is the state's fourth best mark to date.
Lancers' teammate Jocelyn Jo, who scored 73 points at the meet, also had a tremendous performance that in most years would have been PCC's best at the host invite. Jo won the 200 breaststroke event with a 2:32.75 time (seventh fastest in state), placed second in the 100 breaststroke (1:10.44, sixth in state) and took second in the 200 IM (2:19.15). Jo added a fourth place in the 400 IM (5:05.10). Jo was a 13th in the 50 freestyle (26.91). She also participated on all four relay events.
PCC sophomore Anais Hacobian scored seventh in the 50 freestyle (26.26), ninth in the 100 butterfly (1:06.83), 11th in the 100 freestyle (57.65), and was 17th in the 100 backstroke (1:08.50). Like Cienega and Jo, Hacobian swam each of the squad's four relays.
No Pasadena Invitational women's meet records or Aquatic Center pool records were broken at the 17th edition of the meet (two men's records). Combined, PCC women and men scored six event champions, the most combined ever by Coach Stoddard's teams at the PI meet.
On April 20-22, the Lancers will compete in the South Coast Conference Championships at Mt. San Antonio College.