Kingfish rock first meet

Courtesy of the Kaiserslautern Kingfish

The Kaiserslautern Kingfish hosted their season opening meet of the 2013-2014 season Sept. 21 at the Ramstein Aquatic Center.

In keeping with tradition, the Kingfish delivered a victory for new head coach Karina Plocek, who took the helm of the Kingfish this season. The Kingfish hosted the Weisbaden Wahoos, the Aviano Sea Dragons, the Eifel Sharks and the Lakenheath Barracudas.

There was excitement from the opening buzzer, when the Wahoos edged out the Kingfish in three of the four first place finishes in the initial relays. When the individual events began, the Kingfish steadily gained momentum and points and finished strongly, with 1,130 points to the Wahoos’ 841, the Sea Dragons’ 349, the Eifel’s 172 and the Barracuda’s 90.

“Good times and good racing,” Plocek’s said about the day.

Indeed, many swimmers posted impressive time drops. Twenty-one swimmers dropped time in all three of their individual events with two swimmers, Saya Spells, 8, and Andrew Hendrickson, 10, chopping a total of more than 40 seconds each from their seed times. Also impressive was brand new swimmer Gracyn Haas, who at only 6 years old showed incredible technical proficiency.

Male swimmers on the team had a day to write home about, with the entire 13-19 group entered in the 100-meter butterfly dropping time. Patrick Baty, Javier Quinones, Gabriel Reyes and Gavin Kim also swept the top four spots in the boys 13/14 100-meter freestyle.
A number of Kingfish swimmers set new team records. In the 400-meter time trials, Annika Zimmerer, 9, smashed the old record by 27 seconds, setting a new mark of 6:32.03. Not to be outdone, Leomar Ayala, 9, broke the record set by Cooper Peterson last year (8:00.76) with a time of 6:38.92.

A new 10-year-old boy’s record was also set by big brother Gabriel, at 6:33.34. In the 800-meter
freestyle, veteran Danielle Davis broke the 2004 record set by Teri Plotkin, coming in at 10:01.32.

Matthew Cembrano also reset the 11-year-old boy’s record with a new mark of 12:27.13. In an effort bound to catch the attention of 13/14 boys around the league, newcomer Matthew Pohlmiller demolished the old 800-meter freestyle of 10:04.46 set in 2006 with a new time of 9:36.96. Bobby Gaston, 16, broke his own record in the 100-meter backstroke with a new mark of 2:34.67.

The biggest surprise of the meet was the very unexpected arrival of 2008 and 2012 Olympian and former world record holder Kate Zeigler. She stopped in for a short visit, speaking with many swimmers and giving them encouraging words. Her visit was a highlight for many!

The next meet for the Kingfish will be in Hohenfels Oct. 13. If Saturday’s meet is any indication, the Kingfish are off to a great start for their 2013-2014 season!