***image1***What a final performance for the Kaiserslautern Kingfish as they swam their way to a season-ending victory at the Benelux Divisional Championships held at Supreme Headquarters Allied Powers Europe, Belgium Jan. 25.
Some of the European Forces Swim Leagues’ top teams including the Heidelberg Sea Lions, SHAPE Seals, Lakenheath Barracudas, and the Brussels Octopus battled it out at this championship event.
Divisionals proved to be the most intense and exciting meet of this season as the swimmers, coaches, and spectators were all fiercely vying for the championship title. As an extra incentive, this was also the last chance most of these swimmers had to qualifiy for the “Super Bowl” of swimming, the league’s annual championship meet to be held at the Olympic pool in Munich.
Through the intense roar of the crowd and the overwhelming determination of the swimmers, there lurked a slight sense of finality and exhaustion. Over the last month and a half the Kingfish Swim Team has been dominated by a rigorous practice schedule in addition to away meets in Wuerzburg, Geilenkirchen, and even Vicenza, Italy. As Kingfish swimmer Ali Phillips stated, “I’m very tired, but I was still able to improve my 200-meter IM time by 5 seconds today.”
Tired or not, it was clear that the Kingfish traveled to Belgium to win. Highlights of the meet include the 400-meter freestyle when K-Town’s Elizabeth Howe, 16, claimed an amazing 6-second overall win. And the split-second victory of the Kingfish mixed relay team comprised of Mindy Pierce, 14, Olivia Grazak, 13, Alex Jaholkowski, 13, and Josh Couillard, 14, in the 200-meter freestyle relay.
At the end of the day the Kiaserslautern Kingfish had what it took to walk away with the Divisional Championship title. For the third year in a row, the Kingfish concluded the swimming season undefeated. Congratulations to the Kingfish swimmers and coaches for a remarkable and memorable season.
As for next season, Stephen Tarnowski, 11, a first-year swimmer exclaimed, “The Kingfish are a great team, and I can’t wait until next year!”