Shirlee swam for 18 years before she tried out for the Sharks. She graduatedfrom Stony Brook University where she was a two-time America East Conference Champion in swimming where she holds 14 out of 18 school records. She also competed in the shot put and discus for the spring track and field team. Shirlee was also a three-time State Champion in high school and was named Long Island MVP her junior and senior years after breaking eight out of eight individual school records and two county records.
Her biggest accomplishment by far was beating cancer at the age of 19 while still competing for the Seawolves. After undergoing treatment she was later diagnosed with three herniated disks in her back, but still refused to red-shirtand kept on competing.
Shirlee is also an ocean lifeguard during the summer at Robert Moses State Park (part of the Jones Beach Corps). She placed first on the swim section of the hiring test out of over 150 men and women, and was the only woman to participate in the Long Island Lifeguard Competition Championships for Jones Beach.