Dominic Ricchio represented the U.S. well in the Deaf Swimming World Championships last month, but what matters more to him is that he beat the time he’d set for himself in the 400-meter freestyle.

Overall, Ricchio finished far behind the top swimmers, but he’s okay with that, he told The Journal Times. He was really after a time under five minutes, and he got it with a few seconds to spare; 4:54:13, according to the official results posted on the USA Deaf Swimming website.

“I was expecting to break the five-minute barrier,” Ricchio is quoted as saying. “By the time I jumped into the water, I felt great stroke pulls. So I kept doing it until I touched the wall and saw that I improved 21 seconds on my time.”

His positive attitude is no surprise to his high school swim coach or to officials with the World Deaf Games, the story continues.

“Dominic made the new members of the team feel welcome and at ease,” Rene Massengale, Public Relations Coordinator for the World Deaf Games, told the newspaper. “This was my daughter Emily’s first experience as an athlete on Team USA. Dominic’s ease at both speaking and sign language helped to put her at ease as did his warm personality.”

Ricchio is happy with his results from the championship, but his ultimate goal is to meet or break the 400 freestyle world deaf record.

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