Kingfish swimmers go distance

Beth Tudan
Contributing Writer

The Kaiserslautern Kingfish swimmers had a busy weekend with two swim meets in Baumholder and Heidelberg Nov. 20 and 21.

The back-to-back meets tested their endurance as they competed in long distances for the first time.

The Kingfish co-hosted the European Forces Swim League’s first invitational long-distance meet.

The Kaiserslautern Kingfish, Wuerzburg Waves, Heidelberg Sea Lions, Geilenkirchen and SHAPE Seals competed in Baumholder, while three other teams competed in Vicenza, Italy. The swimmers’ scores counted toward titles for the EFSL championship medals, which will be awarded at the final meet at the Munich Olympic Pool in February.

The long-distance meet was the first for the league, testing the swimmers endurance to see who could swim the 400-meter individual medley and 800-meter freestyle the fastest.

“Thirty-two lengths of the pool is an intimidating number,” said Betsey Howe, Ramstein American High School senior who swam the 800 free.

Fifty-one Kingfish swimmers had to qualify beforehand to swim at the EFSL Distance Championships.

The sheer number of qualified swimmers helped the Kingfish beat their competition by more than 230 points.

“I was impressed with their enthusiasm to go the distance,” said Kingfish Head Coach Bob Clinton. “There were several Kingfish swimmers who did not initially meet the needed time standard, so they swam the 800 free and 400 medley a second time to qualify.”

Just 18 hours after the completion of the distance championships, Kingfish swimmers competed in a swim meet in Heidelberg.

“I expected to be too tired to get good times on Sunday,” said Rebecca Pakradooni, fifth-grader at Ramstein Intermediate School who qualified for three events at the Heidelberg meet. “I’m worried now that Coach Clinton might decide that a long-distance meet is good preparation for every meet and make us race 800 free and 400 medleys the day before every meet!”

The Kingfish are 6-0 on the season, remaining undefeated in the EFSL for 43 meets.