New Orleans team coasts to repeat win at River City Classic

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, June 5, 2001

[06/04/01] With a 300-point lead entering the final day of the sixth annual River City Classic, the Elmwood Sharks could have simply swum a few events on Sunday before going off to have water fights in the kiddie pool for the rest of the day.

Unfortunately for the 13 other teams competing in the meet at City Pool, they hung around all day.

Elmwood, based in New Orleans and coached by Vicksburg native Carter Stamm, won 17 of Sunday’s 51 events and had 78 top-five finishes to cruise to its third straight River City Classic title. With 1,429-2/3 points, Elmwood beat second-place City of Shreveport Swim Team by 509-1/3 points.

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“The deal with my kids is if they don’t swim well today, I’ll make them practice tomorrow. Since they swam well today, I’ll give them off tomorrow,” said Stamm, whose team is also the defending Louisiana state champions.

The Vicksburg Swim Association’s Coke Racers team posted only eight top-10 finishes on Sunday and finished ninth in the team standings, with 54 points.

Even though most of the finishes weren’t outstanding, Coke Racers coach Tim Heinen said his swimmers’ times were good.

“Everybody’s slowly getting faster. I’m more interested in getting everybody qualified for state,” Heinen said, referring to the state meet July 26-29 at Delta State. “I think we have nine or 10 people that are qualified already. My goal is to get about 20 of them qualified.”

The Racers’ best finishes on Sunday came from Stamm’s nephews, Bern and Alan Ebersole.

Bern Ebersole finished in the top five in two events, a second-place in the boys’ 13-14-year-olds 100 meter breaststroke, and a fifth-place in the 200-meter breaststroke, while Alan Ebersole finished fourth in the boys’ senior 100-meter breaststroke with a time of 1 minute, 15.08 seconds.

The Racers also netted points in four other events Sunday. The girls’ senior 400-meter medley relay team of Susan Kittrell, Lisa Harsch, Elena English and Jessie Tomlinson finished seventh; the boys’ senior 400-meter medley relay team of Jake Fischenich, Bern Ebersole, Alan Ebersole and Will Tomlinson finished sixth; Bern Ebersole finished eighth in the boys’ 13-14-year-olds 200-meter freestyle; and Elena English was seventh in the girls’ 13-14-year-olds’ 50-meter freestyle.

In addition, the girls’ 11-12-year-olds’ 200-meter medley relay team of Hannah Ludke, Lindsey McMahon, Kris Fischenich and Hannah Hayes placed ninth. Only the top eight finishers in each event receive points.

Heinen said a combination of a switch from short-course (25 meter laps) to long-course (50 meter laps) racing hurt his team a little, as did a switch in age groups by several of his faster swimmers.

“… (T)his week we just started swimming long course, and they’re not really in shape yet,” Heinen said.

Elmwood, which won the $1,000 top prize for its efforts, had no such problems. The Sharks dominated the competition in the younger age groups in the morning session and posted solid times in the afternoon session.

“Our younger ones are just doing awesome. That’s where we improved so much,” Stamm said.

Stamm added that his team’s superior numbers Elmwood had 10-15 more swimmers than the next largest team in the meet were backed up by the good times.

“We’ve got a lot of kids, but we’ve got a lot of good kids,” he said.

City of Shreveport battled with the Jackson-based Sunkist Swim Team for second place for most of the day, but pulled away late. Shreveport’s 920-1/2 points beat Mississippi champion Sunkist’s 834 by 86-1/2 points. The Monroe, La., based Indian Aquatic Club was a distant fourth with 337-1/3 points.

Nearly 550 swimmers from 14 teams in Mississippi and Louisiana participated in the RCC, meet director Mark Jourdan said.

“Everything’s gone real smoothly. All the parents have chipped in and we haven’t had any problems at all,” Jourdan said. “It was definitely the best swimmers in Mississippi and Louisiana, and that’s what made it exciting.”