VSA dives into summer swim season with Stamm Invitational

Published 8:00 am Thursday, May 31, 2018

The first weekend in June will, as it often does, bring temperatures in the mid-90s and humidity to match. For the members of the Vicksburg Swim Association’s Killer Whales team, that’s just how they like it.

The VSA will host its annual Stamm Family Invitational meet Friday through Sunday at City Pool. It’s the first big meet of the summer season for the team and, coach Mathew Mixon said, one of the most fun because of the outdoor setting.

“That seems to be our best session. The little kids and their parents really enjoy that meet because there’s not a lot of short course options in the summer. And it’s an outdoor meet, which takes swimming back to its roots a little bit,” Mixon said. “The kids always say they get a little burned. It’s the first time they get that summer coat on. They always come back a little red. The younger kids in our area and around our team enjoy the meet because of that reason. It is a little bit of fun. It’s still competitive, but it’s fun.”

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The meet begins with a short course (25 yards per lap) session for swimmers 12 and under Friday at 10 a.m. After a break in the afternoon, the 400- and 1,500-yard distance events will begin at 4 p.m. The long course (50 yards per lap) sessions are Saturday and Sunday at 9 a.m. each day.

Admission to the meet is free, but City Pool will be closed to the public for swimming all three days of the meet.

Over the past year, and during the spring season in particular, the Killer Whales have emerged as a powerhouse on the state’s club swimming scene. Sheer numbers often determine team success at meets, and larger clubs from north Mississippi, Jackson and the Coast dominate accordingly when they show up in force.

The VSA squad, however, has had two second-place finishes and one unofficial victory in three meets in May. It competed at the State Games of Meridian, where no official team scores were kept. Mixon said the Killer Whales have been the best team in the small-club division so far this year.

“I’m very proud of our little team. We came off the short course state meet in sixth place, and you have to have some perspective. There’s 12 or 13 teams in the state and we call it the Big 5 and the Little 7. We’re the best of the Little 7. We’re trying to compete with the teams in our division a little bit more, and right now we’re doing well,” Mixon said. “We want to win Stamm. I think we should have a fair shot of winning. We’ve gotten a lot more competitive.”

Helping the Killer Whales toward that goal will be a homefield advantage that includes more than the sun-baked setting of City Pool. They’ll have their entire 60-swimmer roster available this weekend, as opposed to the travel roster that’s usually a third that size.

They also have some talented swimmers. Several, such as Tommy Martin, Adam Eckstein and Beau Harris, have already posted qualifying times for regional meets later this summer, and Mixon said the team’s younger swimmers have made great strides. The mix of young and old has them looking forward to not only defending their meet title this weekend, but winning a few more throughout the summer.

“We have a good group of younger swimmers coming up. There’s a group of 9- and 10-year-old girls that are just getting into the sport and that’s always exciting because they’re excelling. They’ll swim and drop 20 or 30 seconds. So I’m excited for our younger groups,” Mixon said. “Our younger pods are the best they’ve looked in years. That’s a positive, because we still have a lot of our older group here that’s strong.”

At City Pool
• Friday, 10 a.m. and 4 p.m.
• Saturday, 9 a.m.
• Sunday, 9 a.m.
• Admission is free. City Pool will be closed to the public for swimming all three days of the meet

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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