Few sports are so stratified or have so rigid a hierarchy where a few hundredths of a second can make all the difference. Shave a tenth of a second off your time, and you qualify. Have an off day that gains some time back, and you’re back down again — or maybe out.
For swimmers competing on the European Forces Swim League’s Kaiserslautern Kingfish swim team, the hope is to one day be considered a performer on the world’s most prestigious stages.
This year is off to an incredible start. On Oct. 15, head coach Robert Clinton praised his team’s success as his squad would secure its fifth consecutive victory.
Rounding out the team competition, the Kingfish claimed first place with 1,018 points, the Heidelberg Sea Lions took second place with 392 points, the Eifel Sharks third with 157 points and the Vilseck Vipers fourth with 114 points.
The Kingfish were led by four first-place finishes and two record-setting performances in the 400 meter individual medley (5:53.57) and 200 meter freestyle (2:24.02) by Danielle Davis, 12. Her strong performance encouraged her teammates and the competition to push harder as the meet progressed.
It didn’t take long for other teammates to follow as 30 different Kingfish swimmers qualified for EFSL champs competition.
Elizabeth Gorske, 11, contributed to Kingfish success, delivering a first-place finish and record-setting performance in the 11-year-old girls 400-meter Individual Medley, finishing with a time of 6:53.25.
Amy Roth, 14, Holly Roth, 15, Andrew Hokaj, 14, and Penelope Washington, 10, finished the day with four first place finishes. Connor Davis, 17, Lexy Meints, 15, Peter Cummin, 15, Ian Hokaj, 12, and Kathleen Nicholson, 8, all had three first place finishes, helping secure the Kingfish win.
The Kaiserslautern Kingfish will take their winning ways south of the Alps Saturday and Sunday to compete at the Long Distance Championships held in Longare, Italy. After that event, the Kingfish will be guest to the Wiesbaden Wahoos on Nov. 19 and round out the month by hosting the Heidelberg Sea Lions and the Vilseck-Grafenwöhr Vipers on Nov. 26 at the Ramstein Aquatic Center.
(by Julio Quinones)