Cienega Extends PCC's South Coast Top Women's Swimmer Streak To 8 In Row

Melissa Cienega is a repeat SCC Swimmer of the Year for the Lancers, photo by Richard Quntion.
Melissa Cienega is a repeat SCC Swimmer of the Year for the Lancers, photo by Richard Quntion.

Melissa Cienega extended a remarkable streak for the Pasadena City College women's swim program at the South Coast Conference Championships held April 19-21 at Mt. San Antonio College. Behind three event victories, she became the fourth consecutive repeat SCC Swimmer of the Year from the Lancers.

Cienega joins Shannon Cheung (2013-14), Connie Peng (2014-15), and Ariahn Givens (2015-16) as double top swimmer award winners. Mt. SAC's Ashley Tse set  three SCC records over the weekend to share the 2018 honor with Cienega and end a 5-year streak of Lancers solely winning the award.

The sophomore phenom captured titles in the 500-yard freestyle (5:05.64, blowing away the field by 25 seconds), the 200 freestyle (1:53.82), and the 1,650 freestyle in 17:45.47. A CCCAA state champion in both the 500 and 1,650 last year as a freshman, Cienega's three conference swims are the 2018 state-best marks in all three events. 

The Lancers took third place as a team as Mt. San Antonio won the '18 conference team crown. 

PCC's 200 freestyle relay of Cienega, Jocelyn Jo, Dain Kim and Sharon Perez won the gold medal with a time of 1:42.48. 

Jo, who shared the SCC top swimmer title last year with Cienega, placed second in the 100 breaststroke (1:10.91) and 200 breaststroke (2:26.77, currently seventh best in the state).

Cienega, Jo, Perez and four of the team's relay squads will participate at the CCCAA Championships May 3-5 at De Anza College in Northern California.

"Melissa is on pace to do very well at the state meet," said PCC head coach Terry Stoddard. "We've been very lucky and blessed to have such amazing swimmers these past eight seasons. To have that cream of the crop in the South Coast Conference is awesome, and to have four accomplish that much success is an achievement to cherish."

Stoddard's total of SCC titles is now up to 140 combined between the women's and men's programs in his 19th season directing the PCC aquatics program.