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By DANNY P. SMITH
Mississippi Shockwave Aquatic Swim Team coach Robert Gonzalez was looking for quantity and quality out of the Coca-Cola Fall Invitational in November.
He got both.
The meet hosted by the Shockwave at the Sanderson Center was the largest ever and the team won the overall championship with a total of 793.50 points.
"We topped over 200 swimmers for the first time and we were really excited about our meet enhancing and improving," Gonzalez said. "We want to thank all of the teams who came and we're excited about the expansion of our meet.
"The roster sizes of the teams were so large. Sunkist brought 50 swimmers, Swim Columbus has about 45 and we had 49 so it really made for a competitive meet. A lot of times, you will see meets that are lopsided because of the size of the teams, but this meet had teams so identical in stature that it really boiled down to swim performance."
The performance of the Shockwave measured up to the competition as the boys finished first with a total of 400.50 points and the girls came in second with 393 points. Both combined led to the overall first place for the squad.
"We were able to come out on top against three teams that are basically equal in terms of sizes," Gonzalez said. "You don't really have very many close ones, but to be able to host one in your own pool and come out on top was really exciting for us. We had a lot of good swims across the board to put us on top of the event."
Laken Vickers was the high-point winner in the 13-14 girls division by capturing the 100 breaststroke, the 50 freestyle, the 100 freestyle and 200 individual medley, while Ci Ci Zhang was the high-point winner in the 11-12 girls division by winning the 50 breaststroke, 50 freestyle and 50 butterfly.
Other winners for the Shockwave were Cheng Ye in the boys 100 breaststroke and 200 individual medley, Cade Vickers in the boys 50 breaststroke, Andy Li in the boys 100 freestyle and David McKell in the boys 100 freestyle.
The girls 200 free relay, the boys 100 free relay and the boys 100 medley relay also came out on top.
"You lose swimmers from year to year, but you have some consistency with swimmers like Laken and Cheng," Gonzalez said. "We're being able to reproduce top-notched athletes. Andy Li getting a win and David McKell getting a win in the 100 freestyles, it's good to have that balance in every single age group."
The Shockwave next compete at the Sunkist Invitational on Dec. 10.