VSA squad shines at state meet

Published 8:22 am Tuesday, July 21, 2015

The various members of the Vicksburg Swim Association only brought back five medals from last weekend’s Mississippi Swimming Long Course State Championship meet in Cleveland.

The smiles and accomplishments they returned with, however, could have filled an Olympic-size swimming pool.

The Killer Whales posted 22 top-8 finishes, seven top-fives, and advanced to the top 16 in 48 of 55 events. They swam personal best times in 62 of 68 races. The team finished ninth overall in the team standings — 205 points and two places better than last year — for an outstanding overall performance despite the lack of victories.

Ann Elizabeth Farthing

Ann Elizabeth Farthing

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“We had a lot of strong showings,” VSA coach Mathew Mixon said. “There’s a lot of megateams out there. Even with 80 swimmers, we’re still considered a medium-sized team. We were 16th in 2013, 11th in 2014, and ninth this time. Those are huge steps. Our quality has gotten really good.”

Tommy Martin scored the most points for the VSA, but Andrew Fields had the two best finishes. He placed second in both the 50- and 100-meter breastroke in the boys 11-12-year-olds’ division.

Ann Elizabeth Farthing finished third in the 50-meter butterfly in the girls 11-12-year-olds’ division.

Andrew Fields

Andrew Fields

In the girls 15-16-year-olds’ division, Carley Copelin reached the finals of the 50 meter freestyle and swam a qualifying time for the United States Swimming Southern Zone Meet. Fields and Farthing also swam qualifying times, but Mixon said it was unlikely any of them will go to the meet because of schedule conflicts and other logistical reasons.

In the 8-and-under Developmental State Championship, two VSA swimmers earned gold medals. Tulio Figarola won the 25-meter butterfly and Katelyn Clark the 25-meter breaststroke.

The performance of Figarola and Clark, as well as those of all the VSA swimmers, was another reason for Mixon to smile, he said.

“We had swimmers age 10 to 17 in the big kid meet. We had a range of swimmers in each age group, so that was good,” Mixon said.

About Ernest Bowker

Ernest Bowker is The Vicksburg Post's sports editor. He has been a member of The Vicksburg Post's sports staff since 1998, making him one of the longest-tenured reporters in the paper's 140-year history. The New Jersey native is a graduate of LSU. In his career, he has won more than 50 awards from the Mississippi Press Association and Associated Press for his coverage of local sports in Vicksburg.

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