By Susan Hill Smith for The Island Eye News
Wild Dunes Dolphins Swim Team Head Coach Nick Tipling has seen a growing dedication from the team’s swimmers since he started leading them in 2016, and that makes him optimistic about the upcoming season, which kicks off the second week of May.
“We have some good traditions building and some good momentum coming into this year,” said Tipling, who also works with kids as a second grade teacher at Chicora Elementary School in North Charleston.
Returning with Tipling for the 2018 season are assistant coaches Cason Brown, who is finishing his degree at College of Charleston, and Cooper Pitts, who will be back from Virginia Tech. While they will be working to improve times and technique, they also want to inspire “a love of the sport,” Tipling said.
“We are incredibly fortunate to have such a positive group of coaches,” said Susan Stabene, who is returning for her third year as president of Wild Dunes Dolphin Parent Volunteer Board.
Stabene also credits the impact of the team’s parent volunteers, and gave a shout out to the team’s main sponsor, Wild Dunes Resort, which hosts the team’s practices. “Without the access to the Wild Dunes pool, we would not be able to have an island swim team.”
Registration for the 2018 season is already open online at WildDunesDolphins.com for new and returning swimmers and will continue through May 11. The team welcomes families from Isle of Palms, Sullivan’s Island, Dewees Island, Goat Island and other neighboring areas. You do not have to live in Wild Dunes to participate.
Swimmers who are new to the team must do a swim evaluation at the Wild Dunes Swim Center pool either Monday, May 7, or Tuesday, May 8, from 6-7 p.m. Directions to the pool and passes will be available at the Wild Dunes front gate. To join, swimmers must also be at least 5 years old by June 1.
Practices will start for everyone May 9. They will be held Monday through Thursday evenings from 6-7 p.m. for ages 8 and under, and 7-8 p.m. for ages 9-18.
The team will continue with evening practices in summer and compete in Wednesday night swim meets from early June into July. Wild Dunes Dolphins Swim Team participates in the East Cooper Swim League, which will hold a championship meet at season’s end in Mount Pleasant the weekend of July 13-14.