By David Keech
December 2, 2013
Stevens Point — The SPASH Boys Swim Team is looking to capitalize on last year’s Wisconsin Valley Conference Championship, a feat made possible by defeating perennial powerhouse Wausau East. Panther coach Bob Allen graciously took time to offer his outlook on the 2013-14 season, and hopes are high for the SPASH swimmers.
Who did you loss to graduation last year?
“I lost several key swimmers to graduation – most notably Joel Harris, but I also lost Corey Sturm and Kevin Slezak, both strong swimmers.”
Who are your key returning swimmers?
“I have some good strong swimmers returning – Ryan Drake, Ryan Neigbauer and Willey Rosenthal, all seniors, Aaron Bink, Tom Negaard, Tyler Tanko, and Adam Wentzel – all juniors, and Ben Harris, a sophomore.”
Are there additions to your team that should be key to your success?
“I have some new freshman that show promise and will undoubtedly be worked into the varsity lineup.”
How do you see the conference race shaping up this season?
“As in the recent past, it would appear that Wausau East will be the team to beat. Although I understand that Marshfield gave them a strong meet already this year.”
Where would you say you are expected to finish in the conference?
“We should be a strong contender for the conference championship, but I never know what Wausau East will throw at us. However, they lost several of their strong swimmers to graduation also. I would be disappointed if we couldn’t win it all again this year, barring injuries or illness.”
How does the team look so far this year?
“Right now the team looks strong, swimming up to mid-season times already. We appear to be very strong at the top, but may lack some of the depth we had last year.”
What can fans expect to see from SPASH in the pool? Which events look to be strong for SPASH?
“We will have a very strong medley relay team – Ryan Neigbauer, Tyler Tanko, Ben Harris or Tom Negaard, and Willey Rosenthal. Our 400 free relay team will be equally strong – Tom Negaard, Willey Rosenthal, Ryan Neigbauer, and Ben Harris. Individually we have several that can swim the 200 free, Ryan Neigbauer in the 200 IM, Willey Rosenthal and others in the 50 and 100 free, Ben Harris and Tom Negaard in the 100 fly, Aaron Bink in the 500 free and 100 back, Tyler Tanko and Ryan Drake in the 100 breast.”
Who are your team’s leaders?
“The team’s captains this year are Ryan Neigbauer and Willey Rosenthal.”
Tell us a little about your staff…
“The team managers are Riely Held and Kacie Graf, both of whom do an outstanding job, making my job a lot easier. I have been coaching swimming for the past 16 years – Rota, Spain, Raleigh/Durham, North Carolina, and here for the past six years with the junior high girls and four with the senior high boys. Tracy Puyleart, my assistant, is a senior at UWSP and has been with me for three years.”
Who are the key members of your booster club?
“One could not ask for better parental support or booster club – Mary Bink, Lora Harris, Steve Harris (photographer and web master -spashboysswimming.weebly.net), Tammy Hess, Connie Negaard, Renee Rosenthal, and a great number of others in the supporting cast.”
What else should SPASH fans know about the SPASH swimmers?
“The boys have already raised a great deal of money this year and we’ve purchased new warm-ups with a portion of that money. Additionally, they have provided nearly 200 hours of community service in return for money raised.”