On the weekend of Feb. 18 the Kingfish went to Riccione, Italy 62 swimmers strong and ready to compete at the 2005/06 European Forces Swim League Championships. Coming off a strong 13-1 regular season record and a win at the Benelux Divisional Championship they were ready to prove their season goal of personal improvement at every meet.
“They did not disappoint, we had a tough schedule this year with 16 meets including the championship meet. That’s a lot of meets in a five and a half month season. Expectations where that they would be tired the later part of the season and the performances would be slower, this was not the case, at each meet I kept seeing swimmers stepping up to the blocks and swimming incredible personal performances,” said Kingfish head coach Bob Clinton.
Taking second place overall at champs was directly related to Kingfish swimmers giving 100 percent effort the entire meet. Assistant coach Allyson Fuchs said, “The league was very strong this year and the SHAPE Seals are very good, we knew we needed to come to champs with our A game.”
The A game is what the Kingfish brought, setting six new league long course records.
Along with six new records the Kingfish garnered 18 gold medals in individual events and three gold medals in relay events; 19 silver medals in individual events, three silver medals in relay events and 18 bronze medals in individual events. One of the highlights of the meet was 8-year-old Kristian Nelson winning the 50-meter backstroke.
“When he got on the awards stand to receive his gold medal he was beaming from ear to ear. It was great to see,” Coach Clinton.
Another highlight was Blake Davis in the 13 to 14 year old freestyle events.
“I can’t say he came out of nowhere, but he had been steadily improving his performance throughout the year and the second half of the season showed that he was the leagues premier freestyler for his age group,” said Coach Clinton.
Blake took all four individual freestyle events, 50, 100, 200, and 400 meter freestyles.
“Great swims. I was so pleased to see him win, having worked with him this season,” Assistant coach Adeline Denniston stated. Another came when Erin Noyes won Gold in the 17 to 19 year old girls 100 meter fly.
“Erin has been in the league for eight years and this is her first gold. I think it was fitting that her last individual swim in the league was a gold medal,” said Coach Clinton. “The coaching staff also stressed personal best performances this season and that’s the formula for winning in depth as a team effort.”
With focus on this one key factor the Kingfish turned a high percentage of personal bests at every meet and that continued into champs.
“I’m proud of each and every one of the Kingfish swimmers,” said Coach Clinton.