Meridian Star


March 27, 2014

Meridian Swim Association set to host USA Swimming meet

The Meridian Swim Association is set to host a USA Swimming-sanctioned meet Friday beginning at 5:30 p.m. on the campus of Meridian Community College to jumpstart the long-course portion of the two-tiered season.

The event will last through Sunday, and swimmers from ages 6 to 18 will flock to MCC’s campus from various parts of Mississippi, as well as surrounding states.

The MSA Sharks will feature 53 swimmers participating in this weekend’s events.

“We had a lot of kids who just recently joined the team in the last month,” swim coach Wade Heggie said. “But all of our kids should do very well here.”

The event marks the 49th year in which MSA has been involved in sanctioned events in the Meridian area.

Heggie, who has been involved with MSA since 1991 in varying capacities in addition to competing on the team as a youngster, expressed that MSA allows for competitors of all levels to come and go as they please.

“Everyone here is for the fun, but there are different levels,” Heggie said. “The ones that are really competitive will be out here at practice five days a week.”

And one of those swimmers is Rhet Hailey.

Hailey, 16, says he not only enjoys the competition of swimming, but also building relationships across many platforms.  

“I get a nice workout when swimming,” said Hailey, who placed 10th at the state meet last year in the 50-meter freestyle and 13th at sectionals. “I have a lot of friends that swim all around the state, and so I get to see them a lot and just have fun.”

Additionally, swimming allows Hailey the opportunity to do what he most enjoys.

“Swimming gives me time to just stop and take a break and enjoy myself for a few hours,” he said.

For others, like Conner and Sarah Paige, who practice up to three times per week, swimming has been a regular part of their schedule for several years now.

“Swimming gets you stronger,” Conner said.

Added Sarah, “It’s really fun also.".

Both Sarah and Conner noted their favorite event is the Individual Medley.

“I enjoy the competition,” said Sarah Paige, who recently moved to the 11 and 12-year old division. “It’s been more of a challenge for me, but it makes me want to just keep working harder.

Added Conner, “It’s both of our favorite sport and we just love to do it."

Yet competition brings out the best in competitors, and for 10-year-old Megan Heggie, simply participating is not enough.  

“I want to get records,” said Megan, daughter to Wade. “I want to be the best swimmer my age. That is what drives me to compete.”

Ultimately, Wade Heggie said he wishes for each of his swimmers to enjoy the sport of swimming while building physical fitness and moral character.  

“The swim team is a group of people with all different types of abilities     a and needs,” Heggie said. “And the bottom line is, we are here to have fun. That’s what every child here does, and we just want them to have fun and compete.”

For more information on how to join, visit

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