VSA dives into summer swim season with annual Stamm Invitational at City Pool

Published 3:55 am Wednesday, May 31, 2023

The Vicksburg Swim Association has already competed in a couple of meets during its summer season. The first weekend in June, however, always feels like opening day.

The VSA will host its annual Stamm Family Invitational meet Friday, Saturday and Sunday at City Pool. The event will include nearly 100 swimmers from five club teams, and begins at 9 a.m. each day.

“We will just be able to move outside to the City Pool a couple of days before the Stamm meet, so this always kicks off our summer season,” VSA coach Alex Billings said. “It makes it more real to our swimmers that now we’re getting back in season. They’re getting done with school, and having Stamm a week or two after school ends, being outside and getting everyone together and get that competitive spirit going really brings that together. It gets us hyped up.”

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The meet started as the River City Classic in the 1990s, and later changed its name in 2005 to honor one of the VSA’s founding families. It is officially called The Stamm Family Invitational in Memory of Alan Ebersole. Ebersole was a former member of the VSA who died in 2004.

Billings swam for the VSA in her youth and has been affiliated with the program for more than 15 years as a swimmer and parent. She said continuing the tradition of the long-running meet is something she takes pride in.
Ebersole worked with Billings on her technique on her first day of practice when she was 5 years old.

“It’s a big deal for us, especially to me personally. I used to swim on VSA for 15 years and now my daughter swims. I took over as coach last year. Being able to continue hosting the Stamm meet is great and wonderful,” Billings said. “It’s the only meet we can host in Vicksburg since we don’t have a large enough indoor facility, so it’s always great when we get to host it.”

The three-day meet will begin Friday at 9 a.m. with a short-course session. Distance events for older swimmers will follow in the evening.

Saturday and Sunday’s sessions are long-course — using the full 50-yard length of the pool rather than its 25-yard width — and also begin at 9 a.m. each day. There is no admission fee and spectators are welcome, but are not allowed on the pool deck. City Pool will be closed to the public for swimming on all three days.

The VSA’s Killer Whales club team currently has 43 swimmers on its roster. It started outdoor workouts at City Pool on Tuesday and its summer program starts in earnest on June 6 for swimmers ages 6-18.

Practices are from 6 to 9 a.m. on weekdays, and new members are welcome to join. Interested parents can email Billings at VSAcoachAlex@gmail.com. Information can also be found on the VSA’s web site.

Billings said about a fourth of the team members will be competing in their first meet this weekend, so learning the ropes in their home pool will be as much of a goal as posting good times and winning events.

“At this stage of the season it’s getting our times in and getting that experience. I’ll have at least 10 swimmers that this is their first meet ever,” Billings said. “It’s a good one to do that at, since it’ll be short-course and long-course. But of course we always want to win.”

• June 2-4, at Vicksburg City Pool
• Events begin at 9 a.m. each day
• There is no admission, but spectators are not allowed on the pool deck
• City Pool will be closed to the public 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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