There was a time when swimmer Laken Vickers gave up the sport at age 6.
When she returned to competition at age 10, Shockwave Aquatic Swim Team coach Robert P. Gonzalez was sure glad she did.
Vickers has been a consistent top finisher for the Shockwave in several meets over the last few years and she was the runner-up in the 13-14 age division at the Shortcourse State Championship held in Biloxi.
It has been an enjoyable experience for Vickers to perfect her skills in the pool and achieve success.
"It's good to practice all the time, work hard and see it pay off," Vickers said. "You have to work hard all the time and it does get tiring, but people wouldn't do this if it were easy. You have to push through it and know you are going to get better and better."
The Shockwave had four swimmers break the 100-point mark as the team finished second at state.
Cade Vickers, Laken's younger brother, finished as runner-up in 10-under boys, while Cheng Ye came in as runner-up in 15-16 girls.
"All three of them won multiple events and had great swims throughout the course of the weekend," Gonzalez said.
Ye said the key to staying motivated to perform well is receiving encouragement from others.
After competing in swimming for two years, Ye realized that he was getting faster and there was a future for him.
"You receive motivation from other people and it makes you want to practice when sometimes you don't want to try and you want to try to get better," Ye said.
As a team, the Shockwave finished second out of 14 teams at the state meet.
Gonzalez was pleased to see the times that led to individual and relay state titles.
"We had a high percentage of best times which is always good to see to cap off a season," Gonzalez said. "We had swimmers that were in finals of all the races we were in. The ones who went down there capped off the season very well and only a handful left disappointed, I would say only a couple. We had a solid meet across the board."
The Shockwave now ease into training this month and in April for the summer season.
There may be an opportunity for the Shockwave to host a 14-under developmental meet on April 29 at the Sanderson Center pool.
Gonzalez said that will give some of the newer swimmers an opportunity to get into the water for competition.
"One of the challenges we face every summer is we go from shortcourse to longcourse and that eliminates some of our beginner and newer swimmers from being able to compete," Gonzalez said. "The opportunity to have a shortcourse meet and a couple of others during the summer will help us throughout the course of the season."