Originally known as the Hickory Seahorse Swim Team, the team was founded in 1957 by Henry Brown, Director of the Hickory Foundation Center. Gene Miller, Assistant Principal at Hickory High School, directed the team. Elmer and Mary Ann Troutman became volunteer coaches for this Amateur Athletics Union (AAU) team, which operated summers only.

Year round swimming was established in 1960 when the indoor pool was built at the Hickory Foundation Center. During the 60s, the team gained strength and in 1978 a full time coach was hired. In the 70s and early 80s the team enjoyed 15 consecutive years as summer league champions. In 1986, the indoor program moved to Lenoir-Rhyne College when the foundation’s indoor facility closed.

In the fall of 1992, Jon Jolley was hired as full time age group coach. His enthusiasm and coaching skills contributed greatly to the team and in June 1996 he became Head Coach.

It was in January 1995 that the Hickory Seahorse Swim Team merged with the YMCA of Catawba Valley and underwent the name change to the YMCA Seahorse Swim Team, or YSST in order to reflect our newer, wider diversity.

In the Fall of 1999 the new Millholland Aquatic center opened at the YMCA of Catawba Valley. This indoor 25-yard pool is home to the YSST short course season.  Additionally, the 50-meter outdoor pool hosts colorful slides, which are a popular recreation to the swim team during the hot summer.


YMCA Seahorse Swim Team (YSST), a program of the YMCA of Catawba Valley, is an organization providing a comprehensive year round swimming program for children of all ages and levels of ability. With professional coaching, the goal of the team is to maximize individual potential and to promote swimming in the community at all levels.


YMCA Seahorse Swim Team (YSST) strives to be the finest competitive aquatics program in western North Carolina. Our commitment to excellence begins with a professional coaching staff fully supported by an active parent organization. We are nationally recognized as providing quality programs from “learn-to-swim” to elite levels of competition. These programs are designed to maximize each individual’s potential.  Our swimmers set an example of integrity and leadership while representing the community in highest form.


YMCA Seahorse Swim Team (YSST) seeks to actualize its vision by maintaining a structured, multi-level program that fosters participation at all ages and ability levels.  The coaching staff is provided opportunities and experiences that further each coach’s professional development in the areas of technical knowledge, leadership, and administration. Parent involvement opportunities are broad ranging. An active parent organization supports both the developmental growth and fiscal responsibilities of the program.

YSST promotes physical and mental fitness in a safe and supportive environment. Our swimmers develop a positive self-image through discipline, commitment and perseverance. The professional coaching staff teaches technical swimming proficiency, proper body conditioning, goal setting, motivation and sportsmanship. The athletes’ active participation in competitive events instills the ability to deal with success and failure, self discipline and the adherence to rules, respect for others, team spirit, and other invaluable life lessons. This is all accomplished in a family oriented setting that creates an atmosphere of fun, social interaction and fellowship.