Long live the Kingfish!

Photo by Nathan Davis Kaiserslautern Kingfish swimmer Lexy Meints jumps off the blocks in the 200-meter freestyle, in which she set a new team record.
Photo by Nathan Davis
Kaiserslautern Kingfish swimmer Lexy Meints jumps off the blocks in the 200-meter freestyle, in which she set a new team record.

On Feb. 16 and 17, the Kaiserslautern Kingfish swim team, along with 18 other swim teams, descended on the National Swimming Center of the Netherlands for the 2013 European Forces Swim League Championships.

For the ninth time in 10 years, the Kingfish swam away with the title, besting the runner-up, the Naples Tiger Sharks, by more than 1,000 points, and leading in both the medal (169) and the gold medal (20) counts! This concluded the second season in a row in which the Kingfish won all the major titles — the league Long Distance Championships, the Divisions meet and the League Individual Championships.

From the first race, the Kingfish took command, with 8-year-olds Annika Zimmerer taking a silver medal in the 100-meter individual medley, and Andrew Hendrickson the fifth place medal. Of the 127 events in which Kaiserslautern had a swimmer or relay team entered, the Kingfish earned at least one medal in 119 of them. Virtually every swimmer on the team contributed points to the team total.
Of course, no championship meet is complete without exciting races and new records, and the Kingfish did not disappoint, with 13 new team records and one league record. Alexa Hutton, 11, set a new record in the 50-meter fly at 34.56, besting the old record set by Isabelle Bishop in 2010. Andrew Hendrickson bested the old 100-meter freestyle record of 1:42.62 set by Issac Ha in 2010 with a new time of 1:33.86.

Cooper Peterson, 9, set two new records, one in the 100-meter freestyle at 1:40.85, and the other in the 200-meter freestyle at 3:32.16. Both Matthew Cembrano and Jaden Francis, 10, broke the old 50-meter butterfly record of 43.21, with Cembrano coming in faster at 40.33. Among 15-16 girls, Lexy Meints established new records in the 200-meter and 50-meter freestyle, at 2:21.19 and 28.82 respectively. Her 50-meter freestyle swim not only broke her own team record, but provided one of the most exciting races of the meet, just edging out Alaina Scifo of Lakenheath by .08 seconds. Casey Gallagher and Connor Davis each had new records in the 50-meter freestyle and in the 100-meter fly, with new times of 25.90 and 1:01.71 respectively. Everett Plocek, 16, set four new team records and one league record, in the 50-meter freestyle, 100-meter breastroke, 100-meter freestyle and the 100-meter butterfly. His 50-meter freestyle was all the more exciting, coming as it did as the lead-off swimmer in the 200-meter relay, breaking the EFSL record set just hours earlier by Brian Burke of Sigonella by .01.

Final individual honors also came in the form of pentathlon and high point results. Pentathlon standings are determined by adding swimmers’ best of season times in the freestyle, butterfly, backstroke and breastroke, as well as the individual medley. Danielle Davis, 13, of the Kingfish took a pentathlon award for this season. Davis and her brother, Connor, 19, also took home a High Point trophy for earning the most points at championships for their age and gender group.
The Kingfish are justly proud of their accomplishments during their six-month-long season. Not only have they won their league title, the long distance title and the division title, but they have extended their league championship streak to seven in a row.

(Story and photo courtesy of the Kaiserslautern Kingfish swim team)