Dear Shark Nation,

                We hope that this letter finds you all healthy and managing as best can be expected during these unprecedented times. It is important in times of hardship to remind ourselves of the positive, and in that vein, we wanted to share with you all the successes the Sarasota Sharks Inc. has enjoyed during the 2019-2020 swim season. Your support has made these accomplishments possible and we feel it is important to recognize them together.  After an 8-week shut down due to the pandemic, we were able to get our members back in the pool on May 1, 2020, with our rigorous social distancing plan and strict focus on preserving the health and safety of our swimmers. We are proud to say we have been able to keep swimming every day, without incident. It is no small matter that we also were able to keep all our staff employed throughout this difficult time, and we thank you all for your continued support which helped make this possible.

                With your help and support we have been able to make many critical capital improvements on our wonderful facility. Besides painting the building, we have also upgraded our landscaping and fencing, replaced vital machinery including the well pump, pool pump and motor and the pool cleaning robot. To celebrate our membership, we have commissioned new Donor and Record boards. We hope that in the near future we will be able to welcome you to visit the pool and see how great it looks.

Our competitive swim team performed extremely well during the 2019 season, winning both the 2019 Women Futures Championship and the 2019 Women FLAGs Championship. We had 4 Olympic Trial Qualifiers, helped develop 3 High School State Champions, and both Emma Weyant and Alex Gusev were named High School Athletes of the Year. Emma Weyant became USA National Champion in the 400 IM.   We won the 2019 YMCA Nationals Competition and were named the #1 Swim Team in the state of Florida as ranked by USA Swimming.

Our programming has grown significantly in these trying times. We have seen a 75% increase in our 10 and Under swimmers, a tripling of our Open Swim and Adult Aquatics members, and a doubling of our Swim School membership. We have started a Swim Fit group which provides recreational programming for fitness swimmers, a Junior Sharks group which provides programming for entry level athletes, and a Senior Speed group which provides high school programming for new or developing athletes. This summer we were able to hold 2 inter-squad meets for our swimmers, providing them with a safe and feasible way to swim fast and gauge their progress.  Our Masters group has also grown in number by approximately 30 swimmers, and many of these athletes are ranked first in their age groups in the world!

Keeping true to our motto of “Developing Champions In and Out of the Pool”, we graduated 12 Senior Sharks from our program this summer, all of whom will be attending 4-year University/College, and 9 of whom will be swimming in college. These young adults make us so proud, and we were able to celebrate them in an intimate, socially distanced setting as they move forward in their lives. Hearing these accomplished athletes speak to what the Sharks team has meant to them both personally and professionally was moving and validating for sure, stay tuned as we will have a video on the website soon that all can watch to hear their inspiring words!

We thank you again for your continued support for the Sarasota Sharks, Inc family. As we move forward, we will be looking for new ways to partner with you to keep our team and our facility the top-notch venue for swimming in Southwest Florida. Stay safe and keep swimming everyone-together we will see brighter days ahead.

Go Sharks!

 

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