Swimming success at 3rd Western State Conference

Swimming success at 3rd Western State Conference

Give them an inch and they’ll swim a mile. Take away their pool and they’ll still swim a mile.

The Pierce College men’s and women’s swimming and diving teams were among teams from Santa Monica College, College of the Canyons, Citrus College and Los Angeles Valley College (LAVC) that competed in the 3rd Western State Conference on March 29 at the Monarchs Aquatic Center at LAVC. 

The women’s team came in second place while the men’s team came in third place out of five teams at the meet. Among the top Pierce placements were Derick Cano’s first place in both the 200 meter individual medley and 200 meter butterfly, Martin Jimenez’s third place in the 400 meter individual medley, Chloe Hendrix’s second place in both the 200 meter butterfly and 200 meter backstroke and Victoria Murphy’s third place in the 200 meter butterfly.

Head Coach Judi Terhar spoke in support of her swimmers.

“The most important thing is how these student athletes are handling their business,” Terhar said. “When we began the season we said ‘No excuses, you show up to practice and work hard. And we guarantee you guys results.’ And to be honest, it’s been shocking, absolutely, how hard they’ve worked.”

Without a pool of their own, the Brahmas have been using a pool on the Woodcrest School grounds, which has warmer pool temperatures and no diving board or starting blocks, according to Terhar.

Assistant Coach Bryon Lacelle helps student athlete Benjamin Briggs count laps in the water during the 1650-yard freestyle at the Monarchs Aquatic Center during the 3rd Western State Conference at Los Angeles Valley College in Valley Glen, Calif., on March 29, 2024. Photo by Raquel G. Frohlich.

Without an on-campus pool, their ability to recruit students who may have an interest in the sport is mitigated, resulting in a smaller team. 

“If you’re on campus, obviously, people are coming in and out constantly asking about the swim team. And can they join?” Terhar said. “We’re not on campus, so they don’t have that option.”

Without the ability to field a diving team, they start meets with a point deficit.

“The team that won had five female divers competing on both the one-meter and the three-meter diving boards. This means they begin the meet 40 points ahead of the competition,” Terhar wrote in an email.

The swimmers are encouraged by their head coach to not focus solely on their times. 

“That’s really comforting for people,” Farabolini said. “For me especially because I really care about what my times are. I know it helps everyone else knowing that our coaches are like, ‘Hey,  just do the best you can.’ That takes off the pressure.”

In the meet, Farabolini placed second in the 400 meter individual medley.

“I have a lot of my teammates who always cheer me on while I’m swimming the 400 IM,” Farabolini said. “And having their support when I’m swimming that race is amazing. I feel like that’s the fuel that keeps me going because it’s exhausting.”

Jodi Barbera, mother of swimmer Hailey Barbera, explained her favorite part of coming to swim meets. 

“Being able to talk her down when she thinks she screwed up or thinks she can’t do it and being able to bring her back and change that,” Barbera said. 

Terhar highlighted the success of the women’s team.

“Our women actually have, for the first time in 10 years, beaten Bakersfield, Citrus, Cuesta, College of the Canyons and Santa Monica,” Terhar said. “If you look, all of those facilities have 50-meter Olympic size pools twice the size of the Pierce pool that is not working.”

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