- Associated Press - Saturday, June 28, 2014

BILOXI, Miss. (AP) - Hundreds of young swimmers from four states are in Biloxi, trying to achieve their personal best.

The City of Biloxi and the Biloxi Elite Swim Team are hosting “Splashin’ the Coast” a huge swim meet that began Friday.

WLOX-TV reports (http://bit.ly/1qVuPF0 ) the competition is making a big splash among the competitors.

They are some of the fastest, young swimmers from across the southeast region, and they’re racing against the clock at the Biloxi Natatorium.

“It’s been intense for me,” said George Ruiz, of College Station, Texas. “I’m 13. A lot of my teammates are here with me and they’re really, really fast.”

Madelyn Carson, of Pineville, Louisiana, says it’s her third time competing. “I love this meet. It’s really big and there’s a variety of teams, so there’s always somebody to push you,” she said.

A total of 524 swimmers, most between the ages of 6 and 19, will compete through Sunday. The awards ceremony will be held Sunday night.

With growing participation this year, it’s clear why it’s being called one of the largest events ever held at the Biloxi Natatorium.

“It’s really rewarding to know we can put on a meet of this caliber. This is one of the biggest ones that we host, actually, in our state,” said Swim Meet Director Jamie Lee.

The event has grown so large that organizers said they had to turn down six teams this year.

“The majority of our teams have traveled in from a greater time of three hours away. We’re pulling them in from Texas, Tennessee, so that says a lot about us here in South Mississippi. We’re very fortunate that we have a facility that we can host that many here,” Lee added.

Many of the first time competitors seem impressed with the Olympic-sized pool.

“It’s been really fun. I like this pool. It’s a new way to warm down and stuff, so it’s really nice,” said Anjali Mahajan of Jackson, Tennessee.

“It’s really quite nice, beautiful pool, great swimmers. It’s just awesome,” said George.

That means a lot to the home team, the Biloxi Elite, which has about 80 swimmers in the competition.

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