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Tiger Sharks look to attack opposition

Even during the winter months, one can still find people in the pools here in Troy.

But they aren’t swimming for the joy of it – they are swimming for first place.

The Troy Tiger Sharks, a Troy Parks and Recreation team which before this year only swam in the summer months, has changed its way.

“This is the first year that we are doing a year round program,” head coach Shane Tatum said.

“Before we would go some May 1st and end on Aug 1st.

“We had around 30 kids with us in the summer, and now we have around 25 competing in the year round program,” he added.

Tatum mentioned that the Tiger Sharks are made up of a diverse group of individuals raging from eight-years-olds to adults in the 40s.

Tatum’s first stint as the team’s coach began back when he was a student at Troy State University, from 1993 to 97.

He came back to Troy in 2005 and began coaching the Tiger Sharks again.

Since beginning the year round program, the Tiger Sharks have competed in several competitions, including three in the past month.

“We have had swimmers consistently place in the Top 10 and Top 15 in almost every age group during the last couple of meets,” Tatum said.

The three meets the team has competed in were the Birmingham Swim League Holiday Splash in Birmingham in Dec. of 2009, and the Montgomery YMCA Holiday Splash in Montgomery and Ralph Crocker Classic at Auburn University, both of which took place in Jan. of this year.

The team swims in five different events, the 50-yard free style, the 100-yard free style, 200-yard free style and the 50 and 100-yard back stroke.

One of the Tiger Shark swimmers, Sarah Cathryn Snellgrove, will be competing in an upcoming swimming event in Nashville with 1,000 other kids from all across the southeast.

“The more success we have, I think the more people will come and be a part of the program,” Tatum said.

One aspect Tatum talked about was the benefits swimming can provide for athletes.

“Swimming is something that can keep athletes in good shape during their off seasons, which is very important.”

All in all, Tatum said the response to the program has been encouraging from the community.

“We have had a lot of positive feedback [about the swimming program],” Tatum said.

“But there are a lot of people that the credit goes from the parents and the other coaches.

“Both do a tremendous job in keeping swimming fun for the kids and also help them learn something about the sport

“Nothing would be possible without them,” he added.

The Tiger Sharks have three more meets between Feb. and April, and anyone who wants to join the team can do so, as long as they know how to swim.