A shift from club sport to conference champion, DCE boys swim te - WAOW - Newsline 9, Wausau News, Weather, Sports

A shift from club sport to conference champion, DCE boys swim team makes school history

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The D.C Everest boys swim team is now in the driver's seat in the Wisconsin Valley Conference. On January 1st, the Evergreens dethroned five-time defending conference champion SPASH and made program history to earn their first conference title.

In just a decade, it has transformed from a club sport, into a conference champion.

“It was just a really rough beginning. It was a bunch of football kids that wanted to do something to stay in shape,” said head coach Melissa Springer. “You know we went from losing every single dual meet to this year winning every single dual meet.”

The difference maker in all of this is Springer. It took her only four years to revamp the program.

“Her dedication is insane,” freshman Ben Halambeck said. “She'll spend hours every single day thinking of lineups for the meets. She knows where we want to go and she knows how to push us and she knows what we really have to do as an athlete.”

Her first year coaching, the team broke one school record.. The following year, three. Last year, They broke all of them.

“There is something about the boys team that I just love,” Springer said. It's fun to be around them; they're goofy, you can be hard on them and they don't harbor those feelings.”

In a sport where experience is valued, the Evergreens are embracing their youth.

“When you bring young, fresh energy into a team, then that kind of flourishes among everybody else and I definitely think that puts a target on our back, so we have to keep our A-game,” Springer said.

The perfect example of this is freshman Brennan Neitzel. He is ranked third in the nation in the 100-Fly.

“I know I am only a Freshman, but I still try to be a role model for hard work in the pool, especially with work ethic,” Neitzel said.

Despite their youth, the young Evergreens credit their bond and brotherhood for all the success.

“We have a lot of very funky kind of weird personalities that fit really well together and they just light up the room,” sophomore Payton Rudeen said.

“This is one of the best team atmospheres that I've ever been in. I've been in a lot of sports and this is by far my favorite,” sophomore Lance Chandler said.

D.C. Everest will head to sectionals on Saturday. The Evergreens have the top two seeds in the 100-Butterfly. Springer says the hope is to win events, have qualifying times for state, but more importantly, bring a relay team down to Madison, e=which would be the next “first” for the program.

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