Stamm Invitational wraps up after three days

Published 2:39 pm Monday, June 1, 2015

Vicksburg Swim Association's Aubrey Arendale swims the 200 meter freestyle Sunday during the final day of competition in the Stamm Family Invitational at City Pool.

Vicksburg Swim Association’s Aubrey Arendale swims the 200 meter freestyle Sunday during the final day of competition in the Stamm Family Invitational at City Pool.

The third and final day of the Stamm Family Invitational came with a lot of emotions. Swimmers had heavy hearts as they dealt with the loss of their friend and teammate Afton Wallace.

After three days of competition, coach Mathew Mixon is pleased with how his swimmers competed.

“It’s been a good meet. Our swimmers are swimming really well. It’s been a long hard weekend for us,” Mixon said.

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Mixon gave a pre-meet speech and reminded each swimmer why they compete and to carry the strength of Afton with them during events.

“There’s a reason why we’re here,” Mixon said “We are very blessed to be here and we need to use those blessings. Use that talent to the best of your ability and if you waste that talent that’s a shame.”

The team has only been practicing the 50-yard long course events for about two weeks. Mixon has plans to increase long course practices from now until July, so they can finish their races better. It is still the beginning of the season for the Vicksburg Swimming Association and Mixon believes the kids are swimming well.

Due to a rain delay, the event started off finishing events from the previous day. Among those events was the boy’s 15-and-over 200-yard breast stroke.

Chip Fields placed first in the event. Aside from winning he knows not everybody has the ability to compete in the sport. Fields was happier to just finish the event.

“I felt pretty proud. At the same time I’m glad that I get to swim in general.”

Fields has been swimming for seven years and competes in a variety of events. He described himself as a coach’s guinea pig.

Fields said training for the event was strenuous and hard.

“Swimming is one of the hardest sports I’ve ever seen,” Fields said. “It’s the only sport that I know of that uses every muscle in the body.”

In his first two years of swimming, Fields found out he had muscles he was unaware of.

At 17-years-old Fields has a resting heart rate of 40 beats per minute, well below the average teenager. Unlike cardio, swimming has a lot of resistance.

“You have to push through the water. You want to get all the drag you can pushing backwards and as little drags as you can moving forwards,” Fields said.

Fields’ mother Telly, jumped for joy as she watched her son take the lead in his event. Telly is always excited to watch Chip and her other two son’s swim.

Telly said she prefers to watch swimmers race against the clock. She said even if a swimmer come in last in their event, but have improved in time, it’s still a win.

“If you’re constantly improving, that’s progress. As you go up the heats you swim in get faster.”

The biggest competitor to VSA was Performance Elite Aquatics from Madison Miss.

“They have a solid team and lots of fast swimmers,” Mixon said. “Our kids are swimming well, individual events are going well and our relays are going well.”

Out of town teams complimented VSA on how they ran the meet and how well they’ve competed despite adverse conditions. Mixon said it was a tough week to prepare for the event and is proud for his team.

“We’ve continued to get more competitive and be more of a force to be reckoned with every year.”

Mixon is taking 15 kids 11-and-up on a team training trip to Arlington, Texas. They will practice three times a day during the trip in order to get ready for the next event and eventually state competition.