Brunssum’s Benthe de Beer won her freestyle race in the 10-year-old girls age group at the European Forces Swim League Long Distance Championships at Dresden, Germany last year.

Brunssum’s Benthe de Beer won her freestyle race in the 10-year-old girls age group at the European Forces Swim League Long Distance Championships at Dresden, Germany last year. (Kimberly A Hickey/Special to Stripes)

The Pieter van den Hoogenband Zwemstadion at the Nationaal Zwemcentrum de Tongelreep in Eindhoven, Netherlands, has felt like home for European Forces Swim League athletes for half a decade.

While the long-distance meet in the fall has bounced around from place to place, the ESFL short-distance championships on Saturday and Sunday mark the fifth consecutive year the Dutch swimming center has hosted the event and the sixth time in the past seven years.

The lone year it didn’t, the London Aquatics Centre in England played host.

Unfortunately, the EFSL will say goodbye to the arena for at least the near future, as the Nationaal Zwemcentrum de Tongelreep will undergo a renovation.

This year, 495 swimmers from 18 teams will be competing, a 50-swimmer increase over the 2023 championships. EFSL President Mandi Love said that number nears pre-COVID 19 pandemic levels.

Swimmers will race in 146 heats across nine age groups for boys and girls.

The 18 teams – the Aviano SeaDragons, the Berlin Bear-a-Cudas, Brunssum Orcas, Eifel Sharks, European Schools Brussels Octopus, Kaiserslautern Kingfish, Lakenheath Barracudas, Lisbon Bullsharks, Naples Tigersharks, NATO Marlins, Paris Eau-lympian (a new team consisting of the U.S. Embassy and associated international schools in the French capital), Rota Tiburones, SHAPE Seals, Sigonella Swordfish, Stuttgart Piranhas, Vicenza Mako Sharks, Vilseck-Grafenwoehr Sea Vipers and Wiesbaden Wahoos – are associated mostly with U.S. and NATO bases in Germany, Italy, the Benelux region, the Iberian peninsula, France and the United Kingdom.

Four swimmers are unattached and are based out of Bahrain, the U.S. Embassy Budapest and the NATO Command in Norwood, U.K.

Change already is afoot for this year’s championships, as the EFSL split the 13-to-14-year-old age group for the first time. Because of this, winners in those brackets will be deemed “record setters.”

The top six swimmers in each event in the 50-meter pool will receive medals for their efforts.

Along with the winners over the weekend, the ESFL will honor the short-course (25 meters) record-setters during the regular season, the academic all-stars and the season all-stars, or the top six swimmers in each age group during the regular season.

Festivities begin 10:15 a.m. Saturday.

The all-stars are as follows:

• 8-and-under girls – Emilia Charnoubi (Paris), Rosalyn Enciso (Sigonella), Irene Gutierrez SHAPE), Adeline Rollins (Sigonella), Olivia Thomas (Stuttgart) and Ella Woodmansee (Brunssum);

• 8-and-under boys – Raylan Benton (Kaiserslautern), Sonny Gottula (Sigonella), Clark Koehler (Brunssum), Ezra Kralick (Stuttgart), Samson Risvanoglu (Kaiserslautern) and Raiden Spencer (Rota);

• 9 girls – Savannah Abrams (Kaiserslautern), Anna Alderlieste (NATO), Emma Heaphy (Kaiserslautern), Adeline Pierre-Louis (Kaiserslautern), Vea Rosales (Sigonella) and Willow Seymour (SHAPE);

• 9 boys – Pierce Cameron (Lisbon), Talon Harlan (Rota), Timofiy Ivaniuta (NATO), Jack Murphy (Kaiserslautern), Caleb Ortiona (Brunssum) and Callan Spencer (Rota);

• 10 girls – Benthe de Beer (Brunssum), Emery Koon (Vicenza), Abby Miller (Stuttgart), Lilly Pelehac (Kaiserslautern), Cadence Sell (Paris) and Emily Walsh (SHAPE);

• 10 boys – Brennan Andrious (Stuttgart), Chase Charnoubi (Paris), Vassilios Fouyas (NATO), Fernando Mingorance (Brunssum), Tatum Petrancosta (NATO) and Monty Welsh (SHAPE);

• 11 girls – Jill Jennings (unattached), Natalie Kehoe (Brunssum), Greta Olson (Naples), Hannah Raum (Rota), Madeline Sexton (Lisbon) and Siena Spencer (Rota);

• 11 boys – Brady Burgess (Sigonella), Elijah Love (Stuttgart), Alexander Risvanoglu (Kaiserslautern), Harry Robertson (SHAPE), Torin Stuver (Naples) and Robert Woodhouse (Lisbon);

• 12 girls – Summer Abrams (Kaiserslautern), Lina Aul (Naples), Alessandra Mura (Paris), Bella Romar (Brunssum), Paloma Russel (Kaiserslautern) and Frida Tischbier (Berlin);

• 12 boys – Sem Alderlieste (NATO), Jason Dalope (Lakenheath), Kajetan Dziurla (Lisbon), Kurt Feldman (Lisbon), Liam Hughes (Kaiserslautern) and John Schade (Sigonella);

• 13 girls – Rachele Belotti (NATO), Hannah Cooper (Kaiserslautern), Anna Heaphy (Kaiserslautern), Alicja Krygiel (NATO), Sophie Mercier (NATO) and Camryn Robertson SHAPE);

• 13 boys – Jacob Furqueron (Kaiserslautern), Theodore Kappas (Kaiserslautern), Jonathan Marsch (Berlin), Tiago Pato (Lisbon), Arman Sonumut (NATO) and Maceo Stuver (Naples);

• 14 girls – Braya Forrest (NATO), Alice Jung (Berlin), Natalia Krygiel (NATO), Autumn Sundberg (ROTA), Joscelin Tarpen (Kaiserslautern) and Taylor Westcott (Wiesbaden);

• 14 boys – Kingston Baxter (Vicenza), Valentine Bus (Berlin), Clive Dunham (Kaiserslautern), Jake Jennings (unattached), Karson Matthey (Vilseck-Grafenwoehr) and Janto Mueffke (NATO);

• 15-16 girls – Shannon Buckley (Naples), Eliza Furqueron (Kaiserslautern), Brisa Mills (unattached), Luisa Pato (Lisbon), Ioana Vasilescu (Brussels) and Ella Yost (Kaiserslautern);

• 15-16 boys – Gabriele Di Lorenzo (NATO), Spencer Jackson (Kaiserslautern), Noah Koeth (Wiesbaden), Viktor Osadsky (Kaiserslautern), Emilio Rivera (Berlin) and Logan Villarroel (Stuttgart);

• 17-19 girls – Grace Cooper (Kaiserslautern), Gina Heinio-Widell (Lisbon), Eva Mercier (NATO), Gabrielle Milan (Wiesbaden), Brooke Ralston (Naples) and Rebecca Reynolds (Brunssum);

• 17-19 boys – Benjamin Heath (Kaiserslautern), Maximilian King (Brussels), Svit Pavesic (NATO), August Stephens (Lakenheath), Ryan Stevenson (Stuttgart) and Keaton Tottle (Kaiserslautern).

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Matt is a sports reporter for Stars and Stripes based in Kaiserslautern, Germany. A son of two career Air Force aircraft maintenance technicians, he previously worked at newspapers in northeast Ohio for 10 years and is a graduate of Ohio University’s E.W. Scripps School of Journalism.

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