Mark Anderson - Head Coach
Mark swam for the Sleepy Hollow Swim Team for 10 seasons and was an All American Junior College water polo player at College of Marin. He was hired to coach SHST in his senior year of high school, 1990. After coaching from 1990 to 1996, Mark spent 4 years getting his summer camp and swim lesson program going. He came back to the SHST in 2001 to coach and has been coaching the team ever since.
Mark instills good technique starting with the youngest swimmers and strives to keep the drills simple and fun so kids don’t have to over-think. He wants them to become consistent and confident swimmers without doing excessive yardage. They can expect practices to be challenging, but fun too. The coaches set goals for each swimmer so he or she knows how to improve. As Head Coach, Mark is known for connecting with each and every swimmer on a personal level every day. He teaches them to look each other in the eye, to shake hands and basically to care for each other, which is what makes this team special. Mark takes tremendous pride in developing the characters of his swimmers, helping families raise their kids, and building a supportive community.
In addition to coaching the Sea Lions, Mark has been coaching the Boys Varsity Water Polo team at Drake High School since 1995, as well as the Sleepy Hollow Aquatics (SHAQ) water polo club. Mark is currently director of the Canon Swim and Tennis Club Aquatics programs and runs the Canon Kids Sports Camp during the summer. Mark, his wife Julie (who also swam for SHST and coached from ’93 – ‘97) and their four boys, Marcus, Keenan, Logan and Nolan, live in San Anselmo.
Paul Birich - Assistant Coach
Paul began swimming for the Sleepy Hollow Swim Team when he was six years old – coached by Mark and Julie Anderson! He swam for the Sea Lions until high school when he switched to the Marin Pirates. He swam and played water polo in high school for the Drake Pirates. He then attended the University of Hawaii at Manoa and swam for four years there.
Paul came back to coach at Sleepy Hollow for the 2012 season. He was happy to see that the spirit of the team hadn’t changed since he was a swimmer, noting that it’s not just about swimming, but also about having fun and making friends. Paul’s philosophy is “you must have fun [swimming] first in order to go fast. If you don't enjoy what you do, you won't work your hardest.” He enjoys coaching the most when swimmers achieve something they thought was impossible, such as an 8 & under going zero breaths in a 25 free for the first time. Off the pool deck, Paul loves fishing and watching the Giants win the World Series.