Last season’s swim team broke several records, placed sixth in the South Coast Conference (SCC) and finished in the top 20 at the State Meet.PCC put in a lot of effort and became, according to head coach Terry Stoddard, “the most experienced team since 1978.”

This season, some of the most talented swimmers are returning to compete.

Women’s team captain, sophomore Malia Garcia, placed in the top 10 in the state competition for 50 and 100-yard butterfly and eighth place in the 200-yard individual medley last year.

“[I am] very happy. She was a hard worker,” Stoddard said of Garcia.

On the men’s side, they return sophomore captain Keisuke Yagi, who was recognized as the 200-yard breaststroke state champion last year. He also finished fourth in the 100-yard breaststroke and 7th in the 200-yard individual medley at the state championship.

Returning sophomore David Irvine is looking to contribute heavily in the individual medley and is a “versatile swimmer,” according to Coach Stoddard.

One student who will not be returning to the team is Nick Lao, who received a scholarship to UNLV. Lao was the South Coast Conference Swimmer of the Year for 2007 and 2006. He was the 50-yard Freestyle Champion in 2007, received 2nd place in 100-yard butterfly and 3rd place in 100-yard freestyle that same year.

With so many achievements last season, there’s no questioning why Stoddard would have a bulletin board filled with pictures and article clippings from the Courier about the team’s wins right across from his office.

“We have a high standard, so I get very happy when goals get accomplished,” said Stoddard.

But with such great talent returning, there’s definite hope that this season will be looking good for the team.

“It’s an optimistic season,” said Coach Stoddard.

The first swim meet will be the SCC Pentathlon and Relay, which will take place on Feb. 22 at PCC at noon.

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