He’s a real King(fish) in the pool – Stars and Stripes

He’s a real King(fish) in the pool  Stars and Stripes

Kaiserslautern Kingfish Jacob Furqueron was indeed king of the pool at the European Forces Swim League Long Distance Championships, setting records in all three events he swam, including the boys 1,500-meter freestyle on Sunday, Nov. 27, 2022, in Lignano Sabbiadoro, Italy. (Kent Harris/Stars and Stripes)

Buy Photo

Check out the top performers in each bracket from Sunday.

LIGNANO SABBIADORO, Italy — If there’s a point where setting a record doesn’t seem to feel as exciting as it used to, Jacob Furqueron has appeared to have reached it.

It might have happened after his 800-meter freestyle victory Saturday at the European Forces Swim League Long Distance Championships. Or maybe it was after his 400-meter individual medley triumph later in the day.

Or just perhaps, the 12-year-old Ramstein Middle School student reached that state after his 1,500-meter freestyle win Sunday.

Regardless, he now seems to have more trouble totaling up his EFSL records over the last few years — it’s somewhere in the double digits — than being the best swimmer in his age group.

Furqueron said his goal for the weekend wasn’t actually to set any records specifically.

“It was just come and swim and get a big time,” he said of each race. “And with that, I got all three records.”

Like many of the top swimmers in the organization, Furqueron swims for a local national team as well as his EFSL club, the Kaiserslautern Kingfish. And also like many, he’s following in the footsteps of older siblings. Two sisters are swimmers. Older brother Max is one of one of DODEA-Europe’s top long-distance runners.

Jacob said there was no doubt on which siblings he was going to follow.

“I just don’t like (long-distance) on land,” he said with both a smile and grimace. “Water is my thing.”

Kaiserslautern’s Jason Dalope competes in a boys 1,500-meter freestyle heat at the European Forces Swim League Long Distance Championships on Sunday, Nov. 27, 2022, in Lignano Sabbiadoro, Italy. (Kent Harris/Stars and Stripes)

Buy Photo

Naples’ Avery DeBoer won her age group in the girls 400-meter freestyle event at the European Forces Swim League Long Distance Championships on Sunday, Nov. 27, 2022, at Lignano Sabbiadoro, Italy. (Kent Harris/Stars and Stripes)

Buy Photo

Shannon Buckley swims toward her mother Jamie, who holds an indicator telling her how many laps she has left in a heat of the girls 1,500-meter freestyle on Sunday, Nov. 27, 2022 at the European Forces Swim League Long Distance Championships in Lignano Sabbiadoro, Italy. Buckley set a new record and had the fastest time of any competitor in the event. (Kent Harris/Stars and Stripes)

Buy Photo

Shannon Buckley received two certificates for setting records at the European Forces Swim League Long Distance Championships in Lignano Sabbiadoro, Italy. Kaiserslautern’s Jacob Furqueron did her one better after setting three records. (Kent Harris/Stars and Stripes)

Buy Photo

The top finishers of each event were awarded medals Sunday, Nov. 27, 2022, at the European Forces Swim League Long Distance Championships in Lignano Sabbiadoro, Italy. The top overall scorers in each age group received trophies. (Kent Harris/Stars and Stripes)

Buy Photo

Kaiserslautern’s Ella Yost takes in a breath while competing in a girls 1,500-meter freestyle heat Sunday, Nov. 27, 2022, at the European Forces Swim League Long Distance Championships in Lignano Sabbiadoro, Italy. (Kent Harris/Stars and Stripes)

Buy Photo

Like others at the meet, Furqueron was helped along by competition from older swimmers. To save time and improve competition, the organization bases heats in the long-distance meets on qualifying times, not age groups. Some of the swimmers in Furqueron’s heats are 5 years older than he is. He didn’t beat a few to the finish but was still easily tops in his age bracket.

“If I wasn’t being pushed like that, I don’t think I would have broken that many records,” he said.

The EFSL might decide to go a bit further with that concept in future years. League President Mandi Love said having some races feature both boys and girls could be a topic at meetings this spring. Two clubs have already tried the concept a few times and have reported success.

Naples’ Shannon Buckley, like Furqueron a three-time winner in as many events this weekend and also a holder of more league records than she has fingers (and maybe toes as well), had the second-best time in the 1,500 freestyle on Sunday. Only 13-year-old Jake Jennings from Bahrain (18 minutes, 13.62 seconds) — also a multiple record-holder — topped her record-breaking time of 18:16.89. Furqueron’s 19:12.75 was fourth-best.

Stuttgart’s Elijah Love competes in a boys 400-meter freestyle heat at the European Forces Swim League Long Distance Championships on Sunday, Nov. 27, 2022, at Lignano Sabbiadoro, Italy. (Kent Harris/Stars and Stripes)

Buy Photo

SHAPE’s Erika Cruz comes up for a breath in a girls heat of the 400-freestyle at the European Forces Swim League Long Distance Championships on Sunday, Nov. 27, 2022, at Lignano Sabbiadoro, Italy. (Kent Harris/Stars and Stripes)

Buy Photo

Aviano’s Aubrey Anderson takes a deep breath during a heat of the girls 400-meter freestyle Sunday, Nov. 27, 2022, at the European Forces Swim League Long Distance Championships at Lignano Sabbiadoro, Italy. (Kent Harris/Stars and Stripes)

Buy Photo

Wiesbaden’s Kendall Kaloostian swims in a heat of the girls 1,500-meter freestyle at the European Forces Swim League Long Distance Championships on Sunday, Nov. 27, 2022 in Lignano Sabbiadoro, Italy. (Kent Harris/Stars and Stripes)

Buy Photo

Vicenza’s Kingston Baxter competes in a heat of the boys 1,500-meter freestyle at the European Forces Swim League Long Distance Championships in Lignano Sabbiadoro, Italy, on Sunday, Nov. 27, 2022. (Kent Harris/Stars and Stripes)

Buy Photo

Aviano’s Michael Nix grimaces while trying to inhale on Sunday, Nov. 27, 2022, at the European Forces Swim League Long Distance Championships in Lignano Sabbiadoro, Italy. (Kent Harris/Stars and Stripes)

Buy Photo