Volunteers cool off Tupelo pool

TUPELO – Shockwave Aquatics coach Lucas Smith didn’t have to check a weather forecast Friday to know it was hot.
The temperatures in the Rob Leake City Park Pool, the site of this weekend’s State Games of Mississippi Swim Meet, reached the 90s.
“That’s too hot to swim,” said Smith, the meet’s director. “United States Swim Association regulations say the temperature of the water needs to be between 78 and 82 degrees. Our water has been 89 to 91.”
In order to make the water safe for the swimmers, volunteers dumped close to 15,000 pounds of ice into the pool during Friday’s short course and long course meets.
“Putting the ice in the pool brings the temperature down,” Smith said. “This heat is intense. From what I understand, there’s going to be no letup through Sunday night.”
Smith says these extremely hot conditions usually don’t appear until later in the summer.
“It was too hot this week for our kids to train,” he said. “You can’t train in 90-degree water. That’s not good. We just did some drills and worked on technique.”
The short-course portion of the meet for swimmers age 10 and under was completed opening day.
The long-course meet started Friday afternoon and continues today and Sunday.
Six teams – the Tupelo-based Shockwave, Delta, Meridian, Jackson Sunkist, Swim Columbus and Jackson, Tenn., – with more than 170 swimmers are entered.
Shockwave’s Katie Metts won the girls 9-10 short-course high point trophy. She won the 50-yard freestyle, backstroke and breaststroke.
The other high point winners in the short course meet were 6-Under Girls: Anne Shepherd, Columbus; 6-Under Boys: Ben Harrell, Columbus; 7-8 Girls: Jo-Beth Hillyard, Barlett, Tenn.; 7-8 Boys: Jackson Conn, Columbus; 9-10 Boys: Thomas Chain, Columbus.
The State Games are based in Meridian, but awarded its annual meet to Tupelo in an effort to boost interest and participation.
“I think it will continue to grow,” Smith said. “Things ran smooth (Friday). The kids had a good time and swam fast even though it was hot.”

Results in today’s NEMS Daily Journal newspaper.

Gene Phelp/NEMS Daily Journal