Dual-citizen Kingfish wins two golds

  • Published
  • By William Hendrickson
  • U.S. Air Force in Europe/ A3OJ

Eleven year-old Andrew Hendrickson swam away with two gold and two silver medals at the Czech National Swim Competition in Brno, Czech Republi, June 25 through 26, 2016. Andrew swims with the Kaiserslautern Kingfish Swim Team at Ramstein Air Base, and because of his dual citizenship was able to qualify for the Nationals of the Czech Republic.

His first gold was the 50-meter freestyle, with a time of 28.19 seconds. He followed that with a second gold in the 100 meter butterfly and two silvers in the 200 and 400 meter individual medley. The medley is a combination of butterfly, back stroke, breast stroke and freestyle.

Hendrickson’s medals are payoff for a lot of hard work and dedication from swimming almost 400 miles in the Ramstein pool last year, and the result of a strong support system. His mother Daniela, drove him to early morning and evening practices while his Kingfish head coach Karina Plocek, gave countless hours of instruction to the 110-member team, Kingfish president Bonnie Bassett and volunteers also made it possible for the team to be a part of the European Forces Swim League.

The Kingfish and EFSL provide an excellent program to develop young swimmers’ skills in a friendly environment.

The team is a great opportunity for swimmers to develop a lifelong, healthy activity and challenge themselves mentally and physically. It is hard not to spot the high correlation between swim team members and student honor roll members.

In addition to teaching technical skills, Chip Bassett, Kingfish coach and Sembach Elementary School principal and the rest of the staff, teach perseverance and time management. Every swim meet is a race against the clock and every practice is time away from something else, so students learn the value of time management, which translates to activities outside the pool.

If you have a child who likes swimming, incoming Kingfish president Mr. John Golden says that team tryouts will be in August at the Ramstein pool. Watch for information on kingfishswimteam.com.