2017/2018 SSS Board Welcome Letter


Welcome to the 2017-2018 Swim Season

Head Coach, Derek Young, is in his second year with Sandhills Sandsharks. Under his leadership, our swimmers have seen significant drops in their times, our Aquatics programs have expanded their outreach and offerings, and our journey toward having our own pool is on track again.  The Sandshark Board has brought in new members and has begun partnerships with the Boys & Girls Club, and the Town of Souther Pines, while also working with the Elks this past summer and continuing our relationship with the Village of Pinehurst.  We are joining our Chamber of Commerce, extending our online and social media presence and looking toward a year of growth for all of our swimmers.  Derek also has gotten our team certified as a USA Swimming Level 1 Club.


The team achieved its highest Virtual Club Championship national ranking (984 SCY/973 LCM) since 2007-2008!

Along the way 5 athletes set 13 new team records (Brent Hoshall 15 and over 100/200 backstroke – SCY & 100 backstroke – LCM, Ellie Henry 15 and over 100 freestyle – SCY, 200 backstroke – SCY, 200 IM – SCY, 400 IM – SCY, 100/200 backstroke – LCM, 100 breaststroke – LCM, Nolan Dempsey 13-14 100 backstroke – SCY, Jac ReVille 13-14 100 backstroke – LCM), 11 athletes qualified for and participated individually in meets at the LSC championship level or higher, 65 percent of Sand Shark athletes had at least one swim that was a BB time or faster and the team’s average rate of improvement was 6.99 percent.

Finally, Ellie Henry announced her verbal commitment to swim for William & Mary starting in September 2018. 

Squads and Scheduling

Derek is coaching the Senior Prep Squad, which was reformulated last year for our 11-14 year olds. Along with the Senior Squad, he also coaches our Masters program and a new squad, our High School prep (13-18).  Our Age Group squads, coached by Susanne Cooper, serve ages 5-13 and include Age Group 1 (10-13); Age Group 2 (9-11); and Age Group 3 (5-9).  Ages and practices have been slightly adjusted to provide more practice time for our younger swimmers, and more options for older swimmers new to competitive swimming. She will also coach our Developmental squad (5-12) for swimmers interested in noncompetitive practices.

Our squads, along with our practice schedule for the 2017-2018 Season, are in line with the industry standards for top tier teams, which we believe is what we owe our athletes and their families.  “Straddlers”—families with a swimmer in different squads can work with us to adapt schedules if needed. 

Our meet schedule will cater to all of our swimmers while raising the bar for our senior squads.

Aquatics Programming

Elizabeth McKinley, a highly qualified personal trainer and aquatics instructors, brings decades of experience to the Sandsharks, not only for helping revamp our lessons program, but also for teaching water aerobics, adaptive lessons, Mommies to Be, Parent/Child, and follow up water therapy for anyone recovering from an injury, surgery, or illness. 

Under Elizabeth's guidance, we plan to expand our weekend offering from mini-camps, to exercise classes, to water jogging and more!


Our Fall Kickoff Picnic and general meeting will help our new families start to learn the basics of our team and competitive swimming, and is place where parents can meet other parents with children in the same squads, in hopes that carpools can be started.  We have Squad parents to answer newcomer questions and help hook up families for practices and meets.  Five of the current Board members swam competitively, and none of us would have made it to practices or meets in the 70s and 80s without carpools.

We have established a new Facebook page, along with a Twiitter an Instagram account; all are accessible via our home page.


Sandhills Sandsharks was accepted into USA Swimming's Make A Splash program last Spring.  This outreach arm of USA Swimming brings Learn to Swim programs to many kids who would not otherwise have the chance to learn to swim.  This past summer, we gave lessons to over 25 Boys and Girls Club members, included one swimmer who competed for Sandsharks in Summer League.  Two Boys and Girls Club members were certified as Lifeguards by Liz McKinley, our Aquatics Programming Director, and are now teaching lessons for Sandsharks.  Our partnerships with both the Boys and Girls Club and the Town of Southern Pines is growing; we are working with the Town to help manage the Southern Pines Pool next summer, allowing us to offer more programming for the Boys and Girls Club, while also giving our team a home base for the summer.  

We will continue our relationship with the Elks, who have worked with us to provide lane space for practices during the O'Neal School pool renovations.

We will again provide practice space for Special Olympics swimmers as they prepare for their meets this school year.

Finally, we are reaching out to our schools to train and certify lifeguards for the Town of Southern Pines, in hopes of working with teens who may not have considered lifeguarding an option.

Dues and other fees

Our operational expenses are similar to those of other USA teams, regardless of where they are located; many of the costs for swimming are fixed (salaries, pool rental, insurance, travel expenses, equipment updates, meet fees).  To cover our budget, we allocate registration fees, Open Water proceeds, and Family Fundraising monies toward our operating expenses—what we need to just exist.  These expenses include insurance, pool rental, equipment, administration fees, and a basic team uniform, among others.

Annual Dues covers salaries and benefits, plus meet fees and their associated travel expenses for our coaches.  Our dues are less than most USA Swimming teams (those that are comparable often don’t include meet fees, or offer fewer hours per week, or are subsidized) and less than or equal to other year round, unsubsidized sports in our area, when viewed through the lens of 11-12 months of participation (including meets and practices).

For the second year, we are rolling meet fees into annual dues so our parents will have the full upfront costs for the year. We found this change to be highly beneficial to our parents and our adminstration last year. 

 Payment plans let dues be spread over 4 or 9 payments, or they can all be paid at once.  A credit card service charge fee will be added to 4 month and 9 month plans to offset our losses to credit card fees.  Meet fees are based on the average meet attendance rate by squad, which coincides with the recommended number of meets/season.  Swimming is a team sport in many ways and meet participation fuels improvements, sportsmanship, friendships, motivation, self-efficacy, and the pure enjoyment of the sport.

Future Endeavors--our own pool!

We hope to have some big announcements fairly soon about our plans to move forward with building an aquatics facility to serve our whole community--from a warm water, zero depth entry pool perfect for lessons and younger swimmers, to an 8-10 lane lap pool, to a therapy tank for physical therapy.  Susanne attended one of USA Swimming's Build A Pool conferences, which provides significant information--basically a blue print--for the steps needed to successfully build our own facility.

We would like to expand our partnerships with organizations and businesses in the community. To that end we are going to form a committee with the responsibility of reaching out to business and organizations in the community and setting up sponsorships for the team and/or team sponsored events.

These efforts are needed as we launch a steering committiee of Sandsharks, community organizations, local businesses, and other stakeholder to guide our pool project.

In addition to our committee focused on fund-raising and sponsorships we will also offer opportunities to serve on our social committee planning social events for the entire team, summer league administrative committee and strategic planning.

Please feel free to contact any board members with questions, suggestions, and concerns!

We are looking forward to a great new season!


The SSS Board

Lindley Fleury (President)

Edward Hill

Jay ReVille

Miki York

Derek Young

Susanne Cooper

Sabina Francis

Marvin Milkowich