The Troup County Sharks make a big impact on youth swimmers in the community

Published 8:45 am Saturday, July 16, 2022

The Troup County Sharks have been a part of the community for a number of years now as they continue to grow as the leading resource for young swimmers in the area. Kids from as young as eight to teens in high school come out to learn more about swimming. 

“It’s what they and their families want to make of it,” coach Kristen Moore said. “For those that just want to do it recreationally, we offer that and for those that want the competitive aspect we go to competitions as well.”

While the Sharks cannot take on super young swimmers because of the depth of the pool they ause, a variety of different skill levels are accepted into the shark community, whether you are a novice or a swimmer with some experience under your belt. Regardless of skill, the youngsters learn from some of the top coaches in the area including Moore, who was a collegiate swimmer at the University of Georgia, and  Rebekah Ralph, a former collegiate swimmer at Wingate University. These two ladies have been running the program together for a couple of years now and recently added Jodie Maharrey to their coaching lineup.

These three ladies come from similar, yet different backgrounds and all three offer a different point of view on swimming which helps give these quality instructions from a multitude of accomplished voices. 

For the more in-depth swimmers, the coaches teach a wide variety of different swimming techniques including but not limited to butterfly, backstroke, breaststroke, etc. 

Divided up into the least experienced swimmers (Makos), the intermediate swimmers (Hammerheads) and the most experienced swimmers (Sharks), the swimmers get the type of instruction that is best suited to their skill levels.

“We’re willing to train the swimmers in whatever they are interested in, whether that be 100 meter swims or 50 or whatever they want,” Moore said.

The swimmers that want to take part in competitions are given full reign to do as long as they attend their qualifying meets and meet the time to qualify. With most of the major competitions in the fall/winter, the competitive swimmers are edging closer to their most important season.

While the TC Sharks is offered year round, it can also be treated month to month or seasonally with fall being the most popular season for swimmers to join up. 

“The amount of people we have varies by season, but we usually have 30-40 kids in the program,” Moore said.  

The Troup County Parks and Recreation Department gives the Sharks access to the pool at the Mike Daniel Recreation Center three days a week for practice – Monday, Tuesday and Thursday.

The Sharks next goal is to attract more swimmers from the high schools. 

“We definitely want to support the local high schools,” Moore said. “We’d love to have them come on in and get some training during summer time because they are not allowed to touch the water with their teams until two weeks before their season starts.” 

The amount of swimmers on the three public high school teams fluctuates dramatically from year-to-year, but Moore hopes that the Sharks can help bring stability to the local high school teams. It is still a work in progress, but the Sharks have already attracted Ana Vega, Taylor Bowden and Lainie Carsner, who will be attending Troup, Callaway and LaGrange Academy next year respectively. The Sharks have been able to recruit other high school swimmers as well, including Ashton Wright who swam with the Sharks and LaGrange High before graduating in the spring. 

The Sharks are a major force in the local swimming community and are always looking to expand. Whether you are aquatic or land dwelling, there is room for all levels of swimming capabilities under the TC Sharks roof.