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VSA swimmers shine during Mississippi state meet

The Vicksburg Swim Association’s “Killer Whales” competitive team spent most of the past year beached because of COVID-19 restrictions. When they finally got back into the water, it looked like they’d never missed a practice.

A dozen VSA swimmers combined for eight top-10 finishes and 15 personal-best times at the Mississippi Swimming, Inc., 2021 Short Course Championships Feb. 26-28 in Tupelo.

VSA swimmers Adan Byrd, Mateo Byrd, Emily Cook, Trevis Davis, Elle Larson, Leah Larson, Luke Larson, Campbell McCoy, Ace Orosco, Alex Rowe, Kara Rowe and Scott Wallace attended the meet. The number of participants was kept small by requiring faster qualifying times than usual.

Competitions were mostly eliminated in the past year because of COVID-19 restrictions, and even practice sessions were limited. The VSA has continued to work out through a combination of dry land exercises conducted as a team via Zoom, and some practices at Wyatt’s Gym.

“I’m very thankful for the opportunity that Mississippi Swim worked it out to hold a State Championship this year,” Wallace said. “State meet is always the pinnacle of the season after a lot of hard work. Due to COVID, only the top athletes could attend rather than being based on time qualifications. I felt blessed to be able to swim in several events.”

In addition to the current VSA swimmers, one of their former teammates dominated at the State Championship.

Tony Fields, a Vicksburg resident who now swims for the Sunkist Swim Team in Madison, won the 13-14-year-olds’ high point title by finishing first in the five events — the 200, 500 and 1,650 meter freestyle races, the 200 meter butterfly and the 400 meter individual medley.

Fields qualified for the USA Swimming Eastern States Sectional Zone meet in seven events. That meet is March 11-14 in Cary, N.C.