Alabama meet means more than competition to Shockwave
By DANNY P. SMITH
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It's not just all about the swimming when the Shockwave Aquatic Swim Team participates in its next meet on June 3-5.
When the Shockwave travels to participate in Tuscaloosa, Ala., it will be a way to show support for fellow swimmers in the neighboring state who suffered loss from the recent tornadoes that swept through the region.
Shockwave coach Robert Gonzalez said the team has two reasons to look forward to the meet.
"Not only is it a really good facility, but because of the recent tornado activity that happened there, I've talked the coaches and this is a meet that's really important for their team," Gonzalez said. "They had a couple of swimmers who's families were displaced due to the tornadoes so we're looking to have a good showing out there and help support those folks."
In his conversation with the Alabama coach, Gonzalez said the Alabama team hosts three long-course meets over the summer and there are plans for fundraisers to help people recover from the storms.
The Shockwave have participated in one long-course meet so far this season and that was last weekend when 32 swimmers went to Tupelo.
Gonzalez said it was important to get the experience at a long-course event because of only being able to practice short-course in the Sanderson Center on the Mississippi State campus.
"No matter how much you practice, there's no way to simulate a long-course style in the facility we have," Gonzalez said. "It's really different than most other sports. If I could compare it to something, it would be like going from indoor to outdoor track because the track is twice as long and you have the banks. You are still running and swimming the same distance, but because of the way the dynamics are laid out, it's a big change.
"To get that first meet out of the way and having 32 swimmers in that meet was an important thing. You are looking to see the improvement during the course of the season. We are ahead of where we were last May. Last summer was a solid season for us."
The Shockwave will participate in a long-course meet every other weekend so there will be two weeks to prepare.
Because of the way the calendar fell, the originally scheduled meet for New Orleans (La.) was moved to Baton Rouge (La.) on June 17-19.