MSA swimmers make big splash at state banquet
By By Rocky Higginbotham/The Meridian Star
A number of local standouts with the Meridian Swim Association recently racked up awards during the statewide awards banquet, while a former Meridian swim referee recently won a national service award.
Jacob and Michael Gray head a group of five MSA swimmers who won multiple awards during the recent Mississippi Swimming Charlene Craddock Awards Banquet; while Kathy Sides Cornett was one of 59 national winners of the Phillips 66 Outstanding Service Award.
Cornett, who said she just retired from refereeing swimming a couple of years ago, started working with the Meridian Swim Association in 1976. She was a stroke-and-turn judge, and eventually got her certification and was a referee for 15 years.
The Phillips 66 award Cornett won was established 20 years ago to recognize volunteers for their invaluable contribution to United States Swimming. Selection criteria considers quality, level and years of volunteer service in elected or appointed positions from among the categories of administrator, official and coach.
Meanwhile, a quintet of MSA swimmers cleaned house at the recent statewide banquet, which was held at the Vicksburg Convention Center.
Jacob Gray was chosen as Mississippi's Outstanding Swimmer for 2000 in the Boys 9-10 age group, the biggest of any MSA awards won at Vicksburg.
Jacob also received Mississippi Top 5 age group awards for short course in the 50, 100, 200 Free; 50, 100 Back; 50, 100 Breast; 50, 100 Fly; and 100, 200 Individual Medley, and long course in the 50, 100, 200 Free; 50, 100 Back; 50, 100 Breast; 50, 100 Fly; and 200 Individual Medley.
Michael Gray, a Northeast Lauderdale standout who is fast becoming a big name on the swimming circuit in the South, received Top 5 age group (15-16-year-olds) awards in short course in the 50, 100, 200, 500 Free; 100, 200 Back; 100 Breast; 100, 200 Fly; and 200, 400 Individual Medley. He also won in long course for 50, 100, 200, 400, 800, 1500 Free; 100, 200 Back; 100 Breast; 100, 200 Fly; and 200, 400 Individual Medley.
Other MSA winners included David Moody, Christie Vaughn and Holly Corbitt.
Moody captured Top 5 age group (13-14-year-olds) in long course for 100, 200, 400, 800 and 1500 Free; Vaughn won Top 5 age group (13-14-year-olds) honors in long course for the 100 Breast Stroke; and Corbitt took Top 5 age group (9-10-year-olds) honors in long course for 50, 100, 200 Free, as well as 50, 100 Fly and 200 Individual Medley.
Faith Vaughn said MSA currently has about 25 kids working, and that number will swell to nearly 80 members strong during the spring and summer months.
Vaughn also said MSA coach Jay Crampton is leaving the group in May, and that the Meridian Swim Association is working on a package to entice a new coach.
Rocky Higginbotham is the sports editor of The Meridian Star. E-mail him at firstname.lastname@example.org.