After 11-year drought, Okeechobee Shockwaves bring home trophy

OKEECHOBEE — The office at the sports complex pool has held only one trophy on it’s shelf for the past 11 years. That trophy, awarded in 2007, marked the first and only time the Okeechobee Shockwaves swim team had been able to place in the top three in a regional tournament.

Shockwaves member Gracie Gamiotea practices in early morning hours at the Okeechobee County Sports Complex pool. Photo taken by Richard Marion.

And it comes as no surprise as Okeechobee faces stiff competition year in and year out from swim teams on the Treasure Coast. These coastal teams have facilities that allow them to swim all year, giving them the opportunity to constantly improve their skills, while Okeechobee swimmers have only a fraction of the pool time.

All of which makes it that much more impressive that Okeechobee was able to finish in third place in the regional tournament in August and finally bring another trophy to the sports complex.

Shockwaves coach and Okeechobee City police Detective Jack Boon says he always had confidence in his team, despite the odds.

“I was extremely happy and proud of the children,” said Boon. “I had no doubts that they could perform well because I’ve watched them grow over the last few years. I’m hoping for second place next year, maybe first.”

Assistant coach Michael Muros gave coach Boon credit for being a leader for the team despite missing some time for police training.

“Jack really showed everyone on the team that he was really committed to them,” explained Muros. “Even though he missed a couple weeks for his training, he was still the center of the team. He always knew how to talk to anyone in the program, whether it be a child, a parent or another coach, he knew how to communicate with them. It was really great to learn from him how to be a good coach. Our other assistant coach Aubrey Reister also killed it this season. She kept everyone together and made sure the work outs were well balanced.

“We definitely surpassed a lot of our expectations,” continued Muros. “The fact that we were able to perform so well against these really seasoned teams is astounding to us and we love it. We’re really excited for the next season.”

Next year the Shockwaves will attempt to bring another trophy home, but for now a good portion of the Shockwaves team will continue swimming for the Okeechobee High School swim team, who will face Sebastian River on Sept. 4.

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