Wednesday, May 22, 2019
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20180129 Pioneer Boys Swim Team LG-02One year after claiming the first swimming district championship in school history, the Sharyland Pioneer Diamondback boys’ swim team made it back-to-back district titles by leaving the competition in their wake at last Friday’s 31-5A District Swim Meet held at the Bannworth Aquatic Center in Mission. You could even say that the Diamondbacks, who bettered the second place Sharyland Rattlers by 37 points (171 points to 134 points), swam circles around their district opponents at this meet, but only figuratively of course.

While Pioneer’s dominance over the district runner-up Rattlers was impressive, the fact that they almost doubled the third place Roma Gladiators’ score of 88 points and more than doubled the fourth place Mission Veterans Patriots’ score of 81 points was even more-so. In addition, Diamondbacks swimmers won five individual events and one relay event to take six of the 11 events. The Rattlers took first place in the other five events, three individual events and two relays, giving the two Sharyland teams a first place clean sweep over the remaining 31-5A teams.

Pioneer junior Andrew Adkins took first place in the 100-yard breaststroke and the 200-yard freestyle and was a member of the Diamondbacks’ first place 400-yard and the second place 200-yard freestyle relay teams. In only his second year of competitive swimming, Adkins was pleasantly surprised by how well he did at this meet.

“I expected to get first place in at least my individual events, but I did not expect to hit the times that I hit,” Adkins said. “I was really impressed by my times. They were all my personal bests.”

Having qualified for the UIL Region VIII Swim Meet in all four events, Adkins shared what he is looking forward to the most at this meet when he said, “The competition. In the 100 breaststroke, I’m going to go in seeded first I believe and between me and the third seeded swimmer, there’s only a one second time difference. It’s going to be a really close race. It’s going to be fun.”

Sophomore Trevor Heath is no stranger to winning district championships. He took first place in the 200-yard medley and the 500-yard freestyle as a freshman last year. This year he took first place in the 200-yard IM, the 500-yard freestyle and as a member of the Diamondbacks’ 400-yard relay team.

Having qualified for the regional meet in three events last year, Heath has bettered that mark by qualifying in four events this year. When asked what he’s looking forward to the most about the regional meet, Heath said, “I’m really looking forward to two of my events, the 500 and the IM. I have two swimmers that have beat me in each event so I’m going to have to really push it to get there.”

While Heath has achieved more in his two years of varsity swimming than most swimmers achieve in four, he credits his team for making it all possible.

“Being part of this team means so much to me,” Heath said. “I’ve never been part of a team that has done so much for me. I never would’ve been able to do any of this without my team supporting me in the end.”

The only other Pioneer boys’ swimmer that took first place in an individual event last Friday was sophomore Ethan Saenz. He pulled off what may have been the upset of the meet when he outswam the top-seeded swimmer, Sharyland’s Javier Suarez Moreno, in the 50-yard freestyle.  

“I was seeded second by more than a second,” Saenz said. “I prayed that I would do my best and I beat him by a couple of milliseconds.”

Saenz placed second in the 100-yard butterfly and was a member of Pioneer’s relay teams as well.

Pioneer head swimming coach Arnold Perez is no stranger to winning district championships. As a matter of fact, he led Mission Veterans to 10 district championships in a row prior to taking the job at Pioneer. Even with all that success, Perez says that he has never coached a team quite like this one.

“In my tenure at Mission Veterans and in the time I’ve been here at Pioneer, I have never had these kind of kids that work so hard and that swimming is everything to them,” Perez said. “They come in, they’re not afraid to work, they want to work and they do all the intervals and they want more. If there’s a vacation or a holiday, they get mad if we cancel practice. They are a special breed of kids.”

Pioneer junior Marc Rodriguez made it back-to-back district championships in the 1 meter diving event by bettering the field in this event for the second year in a row. Fellow Diamondback diver Luis Ponce took second place.

In the girls’ 31-5A District Meet, the Roma Lady Gladiators took the title with 144 points, the Mission Veterans Lady Patriots were the runner-ups with 131 points, the Pioneer Lady Diamondbacks placed third with 115 points and the Sharyland Lady Rattlers placed fourth with 89 points.

Individual district champions included Mission Veterans’ Karla Castillo (100 and 200-yard freestyle) and Sharyland’s Sarah Chandler (500-yard freestyle). The Lady Patriots also took first place in the 400-yard freestyle relay.

The UIL Region VIII Swimming and Diving Meet is taking place today and tomorrow at the CCISD Natatorium in Corpus Christi, Texas. The UIL State Swimming and Diving Meet is scheduled to take place Feb. 16 and 17 at the Lee and Joe Jamail Texas Swim Center, at the University of Texas at Austin.