In the Leonardtown swim program's first year, senior Eric Pinno helped the Raiders boys' team to a second-place finish in the Southern Maryland Athletic Conference championship last week. For an encore yesterday, Pinno captured four individual titles at the inaugural Maryland South Region meet at the University of Maryland.
Pinno won the 50- and 100-yard freestyle, then anchored victorious freestyle relay teams in the 200- and the 400-yard distances.
Pinno relished the opportunity to showcase his skills once more, particularly after swimming a personal best in the 100 freestyle, clocking 47.26 seconds. "I just wanted to hit 46, but I was just this close," he said, holding two fingers just an inch apart.
"I just wanted colleges to see that I can swim fast without being shaved and tapered. . . . There are some fast swimmers here, and there will be more the bigger the meets get."
Pinno opened the meet with a victory in the 50-yard fly in 21.40. He followed that performance by anchoring the Raiders' 200-yard relay team, which edged Patuxent to win in 1:35.05. He capped his day by anchoring the 400-yard relay -- which also got a strong leg from sophomore Jackson Webb -- to win by nearly six seconds over its nearest opponent in 3:38.49.
The South Region competition featured swimmers from Charles, Calvert, St. Mary's and Prince George's counties. Results were kept only for individuals.
Without the participation of Montgomery County schools, Leonardtown Coach Megan Shelton said it was difficult to evaluate the progress of her school's program. But the Raiders managed to make an impression as its swimmers placed among the top three finishers in 11 of 23 events.
Also having a strong day was Eleanor Roosevelt, which placed swimmers in the top three of 16 events. Senior Daniel Calderon led Eleanor Roosevelt with victories in the 200-yard freestyle (1:46.69) and the 500-yard freestyle (4:41.15).
"I guess it wasn't my day," said Calderon who anchored the 200-yard medley relay team that finished third, and the second-place 400-yard freestyle relay team.
"But it's an honor being here. Anyone who finishes gets their name in the record books. It's good that swimming is being recognized on a statewide level."