Lettermen Cienega, Jo to Lead Women's Swim In 2018

Lancer Sharon Perez swims to a high finish at the SCC Pentathlon held Friday at the Aquatic Center, photo by Richard Quinton.
Lancer Sharon Perez swims to a high finish at the SCC Pentathlon held Friday at the Aquatic Center, photo by Richard Quinton.

The Pasadena CIty College women's swimming and diving team hope to continue its string of South Coast Conference individual champions in 2018. The Lancers return double-state champion and PCC Women's Athlete of the Year (2016-17) in Melissa Cienega and Jocelyn Jo, the Co-South Coast Conference Swimmer of the Year with Cienega.

The Lancers have had SCC champion swimmers in each of the last 11 seasons and a streak of five years that a PCC student-athlete won SCC Swimmer of the Year honors  Even more impressive is that from 2014-2017, the Lancers had a pair of athletes share the conference's top award. 

Already signed to a scholarship to swim at Cal Baptist University, Cienega will try to duplicate her amazing freshman season that included school records in the 200-yard freestyle, 500 freestyle and 400 individual medley (also a conference record). Cienega won CCCAA state gold medals in the 500 freestyle and 1,650 freestyle. Jo is a three-time conference champ and school record holder in the 200 breaststroke.

Lindsay Jensen returns after being a part of two conference relay champion squads. A fourth letterman is Sharon Perez, who is back from two seasons ago.

Among the PCC newcomers are Josie King (South Pasadena High), Maryjane Martinez (Crescenta Valley) and Karina Mendiola (Mark Keppel). 

One new wrinkle to the Lancers this season is the addition of a diver in Haley Ragusa, from La Canada High. Ragusa was a high finisher at the Rio Hondo League Championships and competed at the CIF Southern Section Championships. 

"We're very proud of our conference success and we're fortunate to have two top-flight returning swimmers who can build on their strong freshmen performances," said PCC head coach Terry Stoddard, in his 19th season in charge of the women's team. "Cienega has proven to be one of the state's best swimmers and Jo is poised to go after her top marks this year. Perez will help us too with her versatility. I'm very pleased to add a diver in Ragusa, who is very experienced and can help us with team points at meets."


Jo placed second overall in the 100 breaststroke (1:10.90) and 200 IM (2:20.08), third in the 100 butterfly (1:04.94), and fifth in the 100 freestyle (59.05) at the season-opening South Coast Conference Pentathlon held Friday at the PCC Aquatic Center. Cienega was unable to participate in the non-team scoring meet but is expected to return to action in a few weeks.

Perez had a strong meet with a third place in the 100 breaststroke (1:14.11), sixth place in the 100 backstroke, seventh in the 200 IM, and 10th in the 100 freestyle. Of the freshmen, Martinez was 12th in the 100 butterfly and 13th in the 100 backstroke (won her heat).

At the SCC Diving portion of the meet held at El Camino College on Saturday, Ragusa won the 1-meter board event with 168.80 points. 

The Lancers will next be in the pool at the Mt. San Antonio College Invitational Feb. 22-24.