Delta State cruises to Classic title

Published 12:00 am Monday, June 3, 2002

Kay Kay DeRossette, 9, says a prayer with her mother, Lucy DeRossette, before swimming in the 100-meter freestyle on Saturday.(The Vicksburg Post/MELANIE DUNCAN)

[06/03/02]The Delta State University Aquatic team wasn’t big, but it packed a huge punch at the 7th annual River City Classic swim meet at City Pool.

Delta State brought only 18 swimmers from Cleveland, but posted 27 first-place and 61 top-three finishes on Sunday to run away with the team title. Delta State finished the meet with 673 points, 110 better than the second-place Shockwave Aquatic Team from Tupelo. The Jackson-based Sunkist Swim Team was third, with 558-1/2 points.

“When I looked at the invitation, I saw the first, second and third place prizes and I didn’t think much of it because I didn’t think we had a chance to win. Maybe third, but definitely not first,” said Delta State coach Brian Hein, whose team won $1,000.

The Vicksburg Swim Association’s Coke Racers finished seventh in the team standings, with 195 points. Their swimmers won only one event on Sunday, the final day of the three-day meet, but posted seven top-three finishes and 34 top-10s.

“For me, this was the first meet and I thought everybody did very well. It was a good chance for me to see everybody swim in a race instead of just practice,” said Brad Radford, who was making his debut as coach of the Coke Racers. “Everybody was on their times. A lot of people improved, some stayed the same.”

Vicksburg’s Alan Ebersole won the boys’ 100-meter breaststroke in a time of 1 minute, 14.86 seconds, nearly two seconds better than Delta State’s Tyler Godwin.

The competition between Ebersole and Godwin inspired some friendly banter between Hein and Radford. The two coached together at Delta State last year, with Radford serving as a graduate assistant to Hein.

“We weren’t saying much, we were just kind of talking. He was on the other side of the pool. I guess we both knew what the other was thinking,” Radford said.

Other top finishers for the Vicksburg team included Will Tomlinson’s second-place effort in the boys 50-meter freestyle and the girls’ 13-14-year-olds’ 400-meter medley relay team of Susan Kittrell, Elena English, Lindsey McMahon and Michelle Shoenberger, which also finished second.

Those four also teamed up to finish third in the 400-meter freestyle relay, while the boys’ 400-meter freestyle relay team of Bern Ebersole, Tomlinson, Allen Karel and Alan Ebersole, as well as the boys’ 10-and-under 200-meter medley relay team of Stuart English, Dylan Holcomb, Matt Shoenberger and Carter Kittrell also finished third in their respective events.

In individual events, Karel was third in the boys’ 200-meter backstroke. He finished ahead of Alan Ebersole, who was fifth. Dustin Williams also turned in a fourth-place performance in the boys’ 8-and-under 50-meter freestyle, and Stuart English was fifth in the boys’ 9-10-year-olds’ 100-meter backstroke.

Nearly 400 swimmers from a dozen teams in Mississippi and Louisiana competed in the meet.