Hannah Wilson will be swimming for Florida State in three months, but this week she plans on making waves in her own backyard.
Wilson, the former Tupelo High all-state swimmer, and her Shockwave Aquatics teammates are hosting the State Games of Mississippi’s swim competition today through Sunday at the Rob Leake City Park pool in Tupelo.
“I swam in the State Games when I was 8, so I don’t know a lot about it. I do know they give big, shiny medals,” she said, then smiled.
Wilson, who plans to compete in as many as 10 events in her final home competition, is practicing for her first college season at FSU.
“I’m trying to make sure I’m in shape when I get there,” she said. “It’s going to be a lot different. I’m working hard on my kick sets and running a lot.”
Wilson won 18 individual state championships in six seasons of high school competition.
The Meridian-based State Games of Mississippi moved it youth swimming competition to Tupelo this year in an effort to boost interest and attendance.
Shockwave coach Lucas Smith, the meet’s director, expects to have a field of 10-plus teams with 200-plus swimmers, ages 4 to 18, entered in the three-day meet.
“The meet wasn’t making it in Meridian for some reason,” he said. “We have our meet here every summer and they wanted to piggyback this year with us. We’re expecting it to grow.”
Smith believes the Olympic-style competition, which awards medals to the top three finishers in each event, means a lot to the swimmers.
“It’s about bragging rights,” he said. “We’ll have individual and team competition. We want everybody to have fun.
“We plan to show them a lot of hospitality and get them to come back next year.”
The age 10-under short course meet starts at 10 a.m. today. The long course meet begins at 4 p.m. The competition Saturday and Sunday is scheduled to begin at 9 a.m.
State Games Swimming
– Where: Rob Leake City Park
– When: 10 a.m. today; 9 a.m. Saturday
– What: Swimmers ages 4-18
Gene Phelp/NEMS Daily Journal