(The third installment in the Living in a Sports Shutdown series from Robert Lewis, Pasadena City College Sports Information Office. Sophomores from PCC Spring Sports teams are profiled)
PASADENA - Last year, Pasadena CIty College women's swim phenom Carmen Ung set three school records, was named South Coast Conference Co-Swimmer of the Year, and scored a silver medal in the 100-yard breaststroke at the 2019 CCCAA State Championship Meet. Ung was poised to break more records and possibly earn a coveted state title in two breaststroke events before the season was cancelled last month due to the worldwide health crisis.
Ung had already established herself in her sophomore season having competed in four meets. She was ranked in the state top 5 in six different events, including #2 in her two best events the 100 breaststroke (1:06.67) and 200 breastroke (2:26.26). Her #4 time of 2:18.82 in the 200 butterfly was also the second fastest in PCC history, a time she posted in the Lancers final meet of the year, a South Coast Conference dual meet win over Chaffey on March 7. She was undefeated, winning all six of her events in her two conference meets.
Things were on course for Ung but circumstances beyond her and all California Community College Spring student-athletes control cut short the 2020 season. No chance for back-to-back conference Swimmer of the Year, no new school records, and no state meet, which this year was scheduled virtually at her doorstep at East Los Angeles College in May.
Now, Ung, who attended Mark Keppel High before arriving at PCC, is living at home with her father and sister in Monterey Park as she copes with being away from PCC and the pool.
The following is a Q&A with Ung
Q: You were having a strong sophomore season, how did you initially handle the news of the shutdown of the 2020 schedule and was it a shock to you and your teammates?
Carmen: Things were starting to come along during the start of my second season. In the beginning, I was still trying to adjust to my schedule. I was mentally exhausted from my Winter semester where I took two difficult classes along with practice. I was starting to feel my groove after the Mt. SAC and El Camino double dual meet (Feb. 28). Coach Terry Stoddard and I were starting to see great things in my 100 and 200 breaststroke. I was on top of the water, had great flow, good stats. So yes, I was in shock but not surprised that our season ended so abruptly. I received the news from my teammates who sent me the tweet that PCC Athletics had posted that the Spring season ended. I was in tears because I felt so sorry for my sophomore teammates, like Matthew and Brandon (members of the PCC men's team). Right from the start of the season, I saw that they were determined to qualify for State as they had barely missed it last year. I was so upset that for all of their hard work, they won't ever have the chance to compete at State. This was not how I wanted to end my last season with PCC. I was hopeful that I was going to break another record and perhaps win a state title.
Carmen: What I miss most right now are my teammates. I miss cheering for them. I miss my relay team. I miss the high fives we would give after every grueling practice. They made the season fun. They made every practice enjoyable. I miss them so much.
Carmen: I've been staying in shape by exercising with my sister and my cousin. We run 2-3 miles around the park. Then, we do HIIT workouts and abs afterward on our yoga mats. YouTube comes in handy for our in-home workouts. Altogether, we work out for about 90 minutes every day. It's not a complete replacement from swimming because I know I'm not burning as many calories, but it's better than doing work on my laptop.
100 Individual Medley: #1, 1:02.06
50 Breaststroke: #2, 30.72
Events competed at conference/state level
50 Freestyle: #5, 25.58
100 Breaststroke: #2, 1:06.67
200 Breaststroke: #2, 2:26.26
200 Butterfly: #4, 2:18.82
PCC School Records set by Ung in 2019
50 Breaststroke, 30.14
100 Breaststroke, 1:03.20
200 Breaststroke, 2:20.72
Carmen Ung with a medal won from the 2019 state meet at De Anza College