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Swimmers take marks for weekend classic at City Pool

[6/3/04]Hundreds of swimmers from all over the South will arrive at City Pool on Friday, ready for a full weekend of tough competition in the River City Classic swim meet.

The River City Classic is one of the premiere swimming events in the state, bringing teams from all over the South.

This year, a total of seven teams is expected from Mississippi, Louisiana, and Tennessee.

Swimmers in several age groups will participate in short and long course contests, five of which will take place each day. Competition is set to begin Friday at 12:15 p.m., and will continue at 8 a.m. Saturday and Sunday.

The Coke River City Racers, a Vicksburg team, will enter about 25 members, who will compete in a handful of events. The Racers are coached by Allan Poppoon.

Poppoon expects several of his swimmers to do well in their individual events. He is looking for high finishes especially from Bern Ebersole, Elena English, and Cat Rowan. Ebersole will compete in a variety of events, English is scheduled for freestyle sprints, individual medley, and 1,500 meters, and Rowan specializes in breaststroke.

“I have team members of all age groups and ability levels,” Poppoon said. “Some of my swimmers are just learning their events, but I am expecting top-five finishes from several team members.

“My main goal is for everyone to continue to progress and hopefully record a best time in all their events. If everyone can accomplish that, I will be satisfied.”

Though they are expected to be competitive in individual races, the overall title is a long shot for the Racers. The overall scores are compiled from individual times, and they are not entering as many swimmers as other teams.

The toughest competition is expected to come from the Shock Wave Aquatics Team, a combination of three swim clubs, which draws members from Panola, Lafayette, Tate, and DeSoto counties in north Mississippi. The team is centered in Tupelo.

SWAT is the favorite for the overall championship, but Poppoon says several members of his team should be competitive with them in the individual events.

“It’s hard to compete with a team like SWAT in overall competition simply because of their numbers,” he said. “They have a large team, and if a lot of them place, they will be hard to contend with.

“As long as our swimmers stay competitive in their events, we should do very well.”