By Craig Marx, Editor
The new season for Antigo boys swimming starts with a fresh look from the top down. Michelle Arlen enters her first year as the varsity boys coach for the Red Robins, where she is assisted by former University of Wisconsin swimmer Andrew Tainter, a man that also once tried out for the Olympics.
Arlen previously coached track and played basketball in college and has recently been involved in the Antigo Penguins Swim Club for years, where she said her combined skill set has helped her manage her first few weeks as the varsity coach.
The Robins have 13 young men out for the team this season, four of whom have never swam before until this year. The struggle to field a full squad of swimmers is something that Antigo has struggled with recently, but after two weeks in the pool and weight training, the hard work paid off in the boys’ first meet.
Antigo was able to defeat the defending conference champion Rhinelander Hodags on Nov. 29 to begin their season on a more-than-positive note and give the Robins confidence as a team moving forward without the help of last year’s dominant senior performance by Colin Koss.
Koss, competing last year in the 50 yd and 100 yd freestyle competitions, reached the WIAA state championships three years in row and was also awarded the prestigious Swimmer of the Year Award by the Great Northern Conference.
With one of the most decorated swimmers in Antigo history now graduated, the 2016-17 squad is under the leadership of captains Spencer Fittante (senior) and Austin Arlen (junior).
This year’s crew of Robins swimmers includes Brett Farmer, Thomas Reisner, Bryce Karl, Ale Schlundt, Wade Farmer, Austin Arlen, Frank Kneeland, Caleb Cooper, Zach Reineke, Holden Meidl, Deiontae Barner, Bryce Devore, Clay Miller, Arlen, and Fittante.
“I know a lot of the boys from having coached them through the Penguins,” Arlen said. “I think we have guys that will be competitive in the pool this year. We have enough guys on varsity now to be able to fill all of the events and score points.”
Antigo boys swimming will also play host this year to the GNC Meet itself, where the Robins have a shot at the conference’s swimming title on Feb. 3.
2016 AHS Boys Swimming Schedule
All meets begin at 5:30 p.m.
Tuesday, November 29 – at Rhinelander (W) – Heck Family Community Pool
Thursday, December 1 – at Lakeland – Lakeland Union High School
Thursday, December 8 – at Shawano – Shawano Community High School
Tuesday, December 13 – vs. Medford – Clara R. McKenna Aquatic Center
Thursday, December 15 – vs. Tomahawk – Clara R. McKenna Aquatic Center
Tuesday, January 3 – at Medford – Medford Area High School
Thursday, Janaury 5 – vs. Rhinelander – Clara R. McKenna Aquatic Center
Thursday, January 12 – vs. Lakeland – Clara R. McKenna Aquatic Center
Thursday, January 19 – vs. Shawano – Clara R. McKenna Aquatic Center
Thursday, January 26 – at Tomahawk – Tomahawk High School
Friday, February 3 – GNC Meet – Clara R. McKenna Aquatic Center
Saturday, February 11 – WIAA Sectionals (TBD) – Stevens Point Area High School