Cannonballs finish summer swim season at JSA City Meet

Published 8:25 pm Sunday, June 30, 2024

FLOWOOD — The Vicksburg YMCA Cannonballs had 16 top-five finishes, including three second-places, at their final swim meet of the season.

The one program coordinator Wilson Carroll was most excited about, however, was not among those.

C.J. Wilson finished seventh in the boys’ 11-12-year-olds’ 50 yard freestyle. His time of 34.45 seconds was six seconds faster than his personal best, which Carroll said showed what the developmental summer program is all about.

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Wilson also finished fifth in the 50 yard backstroke, with a time of 42.74 seconds.

“An astonishing result. But he’s a hard worker, very respectful, listens and pours his heart and soul into it every morning. That’s the kind of kid we love to see out here swimming because it pays off,” Carroll said, a smile beaming across his face. “When you can cut six seconds off a 50-yard race it means you’re well-coached and you’re trying hard.”

The Cannonballs finished their month-long summer season on Saturday, with the Jackson Swim Association’s City Meet at Grit Fitness & Training in Flowood.

Thirteen teams competed in 105 events at the meet, and the Cannonballs totaled 175 points to finish 10th. The Club Township Tigersharks won with 1,301.5 points.

The results were only a small measure of progress, though. The Cannonballs are designed to teach novice swimmers the competitive side of the sport. Most of the program’s participants don’t swim year-round, or are just beginning to consider swimming for a club or high school team.

Sicily Smith is among them. She placed second out of 33 swimmers in the girls’ 11-12-year-olds’ 50 yard freestyle and fifth in the 50 backstroke with times of 31.27 and 42.98 seconds, respectively.

“I’m excited about it. I love it and I love this swim team. I’ve been here since the beginning,” said Smith, who has been with the Cannonballs all four years of their existence.

Carroll was impressed with Smith’s performance. Like with Wilson, he said it showed what he hopes to do with the Cannonballs as a feeder program for Warren County’s high school teams and the more competitive Vicksburg Swim Association club team.

“She’s over here competing with a lot of year-round swimmers, and when you come in second overall at this meet that’s remarkable,” Carroll said. “That’s good coaching and a tremendous work ethic. That’s why this is so much fun — to watch kids that can come so far, so fast.”

Other top-five finishers for the Cannonballs were:

• Iris Fletcher, who was second in the girls’ 6-and-under 25 yard backstroke (32.06 seconds) and third in the 25 yard freestyle (26.57 seconds).

• Titus Williams, who placed third in the boys’ 9-10-year-olds’ 50 breastroke, with a time of 55.99 seconds; and fourth in both the 50 freestyle (39.86 seconds) and 100 yard individual medley (1:50.68).

• Benji Corley, who was fourth in the boys’ 6-and-under 25 yard backstroke, with a time of 34.14 seconds.

• Annalise Henry placed fourth in the girls’ 9-10-year-olds’ 25 yard breaststroke in 27.27 seconds.

• Aubrey Rankin finished fourth in the girls’ 13-14-year-olds’ 50 freestyle in 31.22 seconds.

• Grace Edwards was fifth in the girls’ 13-14-year-olds’ 100 freestyle in 1:16.23.

• Cormac Wiedenfeld had two top-fives in the boys’ 11-12-year-olds’ division. He was second in the 50 yard butterfly in 39.55 seconds, and fifth in the 50 breaststroke in 49.45 seconds.

• Shelby Williams also had two top-fives in the girls’ 11-12-year-olds’ division. She finished third in the 50 butterfly in 39 seconds even, and was fifth in the 100 IM in 1:25.85.

“I’d love to have kids going to the nationals, but I’m just as happy seeing them coming over here to Jackson and kicking booty with these kids that swim year-round and go to big schools,” Carroll said. “We can go toe to toe with them any day. Thank God for the YMCA supporting this program and making it happen.”

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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