Story by: Zachary Groff, special to the Roundup
The Pierce College women’s swim team season ended at the state championships on Saturday, May 2. The team finished the season 9-3 after winning 8 straight meets. Head coach Judi Terhar said the season was great.
When asked about the team, Terhar said it was the “most fun team [she] coached” in almost 40 years of coaching. The team was very close and there was no drama. Everyone was a hard worker and she even had swimmers from other teams who wanted to join.
The men’s swim team ended 6th out of 7 teams. A lack of swimmers led to the team not being able to place for certain competitions.
They made it to the conference championships but did not place high enough to make the state championships.
At the conference swim championships, the women’s team finished 4th behind Santa Barbara City College and Ventura College. Four Pierce school records were broken, including two by freshman Cecilia “CJ” Hansen. Hansen broke the school record in the 200 meter breaststroke (time of 2:30.59) and in the 400 meter individual medley (time of 5:02.47), a time which qualified her for state.
This was the first year women had to swim all 200 meter strokes and the 400 meter individual medley. Each swimmer is allowed to swim in three individual events and four relays.
Other notable swimmers were freshmen Shany Ninio, Kailey Bennett and Melissa Velasco. Ninio, who was the highest place finisher at conference, finished 2nd in the one-mile backstroke event, which consists of 66 laps in a 25m pool (time of 19:14.28), just barely missing out on qualifying for state. Bennett set the school record in the 200 meter butterfly (time of 2:30.75) and a fifth place finish. Velasco, who set the school record in the 200 meter backstroke (time of 2:24.32) and a fifth place finish.
Who they are and where are they going next year:
Sarah Karp, 20, accepted to the EATM (Exotic Animal Training and Management) at Moorpark College.
Regina Agopian, 19, transferring to UCLA or UCB, to major in sociology and join the Swim Club.
Sierra Marroquin, 20, joining the LAPD Academy.
Cecilia Hansen, 21, staying at Pierce College to swim again next year.
Elisha Vetter, 19, transferring to Cal State Northridge and plans to join the water polo club.
Brian Fedorov, 19, transferring to UCLA and plans to join the Swim Club or Water Polo Club.
What is your favorite stroke and your favorite event?
Karp: I really like the mile. (Group responds by saying no one likes swimming the mile.) Okay fine, the 200m backstroke.
Agopian: I like swimming butterfly and my favorite event is the 400m individual medley.
Marroquin: I enjoy freestyle and the 100m freestyle is my favorite.
Hansen: I guess I would go with backstroke and either the 400m individual medley or the 200m backstroke.
Vetter: The 50m freestyle is my favorite. I like swimming just there and back.
Fedorov: I like the butterfly stroke and swimming the 400m individual medley.
What was your favorite moment that happened for you individually?
Karp: It was the last day of conference. I was swimming in the 4x100m freestyle and the coach told me she wanted my time to be under one minute and six seconds. I swam and when I finished, they told me my time was one minute and four seconds and I just started crying with joy. The coaches were crying with me and it was a wonderful accomplishment to have been a part of this year.
Agopian: On the Friday at the conference meet, I found out I was accepted to UCLA, and in my main event there were 12 swimmers competing and I made it to the consolation finals and the team was packed at the end of the lane to support me. On the last lap, I was neck-and-neck for the lead and in my head, I decided that I wanted it more than her and I used my reserved energy that I had and I won the finals.
Marroquin: I was able to hit my goal time on the 50m freestyle, I was able to get my time to under 26 seconds.
Hansen: I really enjoyed cheering on my teammates during meets.
Vetter: About two weeks before conference, I was really sick and afraid I would not be successful at the conference meet. I ended up dropping time and doing much better than I expected.
Fedorov: It was really great to be awarded MVP of the men’s swim team this year.
What was your favorite team building activity?
Karp: I really enjoyed the coed shaving parties.
Agopian: It was really fun to get everyone pumped up before a relay.
Marroquin: It was always fun how we would gather at the end of the lane to cheer on our teammates.
Hansen: Eating at a restaurant after a meet.
Vetter: It was a sort of inside joke on the team, but we would constantly say, “Feels good.”
Fedorov: It was fun to talk smack about our rivals, Valley College.
Any pre-swim rituals that you had?
Karp: I really liked to be surrounded by my teammate. (As she points to Regina, Sierra and CJ).
Agopian: Listening to EDM music and socializing with my teammates.
Marroquin: I liked to be alone and listen to “How did I get here?” by Odesza.
Hansen: Stretching and focusing on the swim is what I liked to do.
Vetter: I would socialize or listen to “Lose Yourself” by Eminem.
Fedorov: I would put on my first cap, then my goggles, then my second cap. One for comfort, the other to keep my goggles in place.
What are your favorite moments as a team?
Karp: We would bond before practice, usually to complain about having to practice.
Agopian: On April Fool’s Day we tried to pull a prank by hiding in the storage shed. The coach never showed and we were waiting for several minutes. One of the assistant coaches comes in and tells us that the coach is not coming in. The attempted prank ended up backfiring and we were punished for our attempt.
Marroquin: It was always fun staying at hotels, playing board games and packing everyone into one room.
Hansen: That was really fun, no one would really stay in their assigned room.
Vetter: Or we would watch the show “Catfish” together in the hotels.
Fedorov: In the 4x 200m fs beating valley after they had been talking trash up to that point.
At the end of the interview team members asked each other questions.
Karp: What will you guys miss the most?
Agopian: The team’s competitive spirit and the random shenanigans we had.
Hansen: I will miss the closeness that this team had.
Vetter: The bonding experience and the closeness.
Fedorov: I have been on a lot of teams and the team was much closer than last year. I will miss being on their team.
Agopian: What will you do next?
Karp: Focus on education and try to stay close to my friends on the team.
Marroquin: I am excited to start training to be a police officer.
Hansen: I will work on weightlifting and becoming a faster swimmer.
Vetter: I am not really sure yet.
Fedorov: Try to keep my 4.0 GPA train rolling and get my two degrees in economics and political science.
Marroquin: Would you do it all over again?
Karp: Yes, I would over and over again. It was one of the best experiences I have been a part of in my life.
Agopian: Yes, I definitely would, it sucks that it is over already.
Hansen: Most definitely.
Vetter: No, its time to move on and just be happy to be a participant in the experience.
Fedorov: Yes, I feel like redemption is needed. 200m butterfly, I am talking about you.
Hansen: Words of advice to the new arrivals?
Karp: Work hard on swimming and bonding with the team.
Agopian: Stick together, and aim to be closer than this team was.
Marroquin: No matter how hard it gets, just keep going. You can do it.
Vetter: Remember that you chose to do this, so enjoy it.
Fedorov: Do not just work on the physical side, there is a mental side too. Do your best and have no regrets.
Fedorov: Are you proud of yourself and the team?
Karp: Yes I am. The improvement of the team and myself was great to see this year.
Agopian: Yes I am. I cannot believe how far I have come and how I had more potential than I thought.
Marroquin: Yes I am, but I am more proud of the team.
Hansen: I am, but I am determined to do better next year and I want to do more.
Vetter: I am extremely proud of the team and I hit all my goal times this year.