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Four local swimmers headed to ZONE

By By Ryan Satcher
staff writer
It takes a lot of work and a lot of practice to become a good swimmer, but for a few Meridian Swim Association swimmers it was well worth the effort.
Four swimmers from the local swim team were selected to compete in the U.S. Swimming ZONE Competition in San Antonio, Texas, beginning Monday and running through Aug. 3.
Holly Corbitt, Jacob Gray, David Moody and Christie Vaughn will be four of the 41 swimmers from the state of Mississippi competing in the large competition.
"Only a select few people get to go and it's an honor to get to go," said Moody of the opportunity. "You have to train year round for it and basically miss no practices to get good. The work eventually pays off."
Joining the swimmers will be MSA swim coach Chris Engledow. He will be coaching the Mississippi team that is made up of swimmers from around the state.
"It's the first time Meridian has had a ZONE coach," said Engledow. "I'm really excited."
The MSA swimmers practice with the team every afternoon and on Wednesday and Friday mornings. They also practice on Saturdays and Engledow was glad to see the work pay off.
"This is the second time in history that Meridian is taking four swimmers, so it's a big accomplishment," Engledow said. "We've got some really fast swimmers going so I'm excited about it. The city of Meridian should be very proud that it has four people going."
The competition will start on Tuesday night and will finish on Saturday evening. Competitions will be held every day during the time.
The meet should be very fast because there is no longer a Junior Nationals, which was once the stepping stone for kids to reach Senior Nationals which is basically the same as Olympic trials.
"This is the one meet the kids shoot for," said Engledow of the competition. "There will probably be about 800 or 900 kids there. It's going to be an extremely fast meet. All the fastest swimmers from each state will be there. The kids and I are lucky to just be representing the state of Mississippi as part of the fastest group from the state."
Corbitt and Gray will be competing in the 11-and 12-year-old age division while Moody and Vaughn compete in the 15-and 16-year-old division. According to Engledow the Meridian swimmers will mainly compete in distance swims.
"It's a fun trip," said Corbitt, who also competed in last year's competition. "You get to hang out with friends and compete. I'm looking forward to it."