VSA Killer Whales prepare for state competition

Published 9:41 am Tuesday, July 14, 2015

GOING TO STATE: VSA swimmers prepare to spring into action in practicing for the state meet.

GOING TO STATE: VSA swimmers prepare to spring into action in practicing for the state meet.

The Vicksburg Swim Association Killer Whales will travel to Cleveland Thursday for the state championship swim meet.

The 14 swimmers will travel to Delta State University Thursday morning and stay until Sunday afternoon, when the competition ends.

It’s been a long road for the swimmers as they prepare by practicing from 6 a.m. until 8:30 a.m. at the Vicksburg public pool.

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Head coach Mathew Mixon gives the swimmers an 18-20 week training program in preparation for the state meet and the work is paying off.

“I’m proud of the work and the dedication they have put in just to get to this point,” Mixon said. “No matter the outcome at the state meet, they can go out and have a bad meet, but I’m already proud of them. They already accomplished a lot.”

Mixon admitted it’s hard to get the kids out of bed and come ready to swim at six in the morning, but the dedication the kids have is what makes him proud.

“It was hard to get up every day that early,” short course captain Connor Clark said. “We all love coming out here to swim so it wasn’t bad at all.”

At 14-years-old, Clark was elected the short course captain for the previous meets of the season. Now 15, Clark feels confident in himself for the state meet, as he will compete in all the freestyle events, the 100-meter backstroke and the 200-meter backstroke events.

“I feel pretty confident in myself,” Clark said. “Coach (Mixon) has done really well training us so we all feel confident going into the state meet.”

Once the state meet starts Thursday, the swimmers will participate in preliminary meet. If they place in the top 16 in their events, they get to return and continue competing. After that, qualifying meets happen and the top half of the 16 swimmers will move on and the bottom half of the 16 swimmers will compete in another meet.

As a result, the swimmers can swim up to a total of 14 events over the course of the weekend. The swimmers will begin a tapering workout the rest of the week until the state meet starts Thursday.

Mixon wants his swimmers prepared, but at the same timethey need the proper rest so their bodies can be right for the state meet.

“Your body has to be prepared for the possibility of swimming in 14 events,” Mixon said. “We’re starting our tapering program now and the kids like to hear that.”

Mixon and his swimmers have high expectations and look forward to the challenge.

“Everyone will do good in their own eyes,” Clark said. “They may not win, but they’ll cut their own time and it will be good for them.”