ROYERSFORD — There will be a new face pool side at Spring-Ford High School this season. But one not new to the area swimming community.
Mark Agnew, a longtime former Pottstown YMCA Seahawks assistant, was confirmed as the new head swim coach for the Rams’ boys and girls teams by the Spring-Ford School Board at Tuesday night’s meeting.
Also confirmed was former Pottstown Y Seahawks head coach Kathy Cook as Spring-Ford’s new assistant swim coach, with Travis Wagner also returning as assistant coach.
“I feel truly lucky to have the opportunity to coach at Spring-Ford and I am really looking forward to it,’ Agnew said. “This is my favorite sport to coach and I have been looking for an opportunity.’
Agnew also has been a volunteer assistant cross country coach at Pottstown High School for several years and will continue to coach the team in the fall before swimming kicks up for the winter season.
But, as he admitted, swimming is his first love. And no wonder, since Agnew was a distance freestyler during his high school years at Salesianum School in Wilmington, DE.
“I’ve been keeping an eye on local schools for swim coaching opportunities and I saw it posted on the Spring-Ford website,’ he said. “I got my resume and everything together, got a call from the Spring-Ford athletic director Mickey McDaniel and went over for a couple of interviews. Everything went well and it just felt like a good match.’
Agnew takes over from Bob Sieracki, who started the Spring-Ford swim program a decade ago and served as the Rams head coach for the past nine years.
“Bob started that program from scratch and they had a lot of success there,’ Agnew said. “And I am really looking forward to continuing and building on that tradition that Bob started. I know a few of the swimmers there just from my Pottstown days and from watching the area teams.’
Agnew is quite familiar with the talent in the Pioneer Athletic Conference. His son, Owen Agnew, a Pottsgrove High School senior this year, also swims on the Falcons team. His youngest son Patrick will be a freshman on the team this year. His wife, Amy Agnew, started the Pottsgrove swim program in the 2006-2007 season and coached the Falcons for several years, with Mark Agnew her assistant for the first two years.
Agnew definitely knows what it takes to win in the PAC-10.
Spring-Ford, however, is one of the PAC-10 schools which does not have a pool on site and the Rams have always held most of their practices and dual meets at Ursinus.
“We will split practice times between the Spring Valley YMCA and Ursinus, and our meets are still going to be at Ursinus,’ Agnew said. “I’ve been over there to meet with Matt McGuriman, the Director of Aquatics at Ursinus. They want to continue the relationship, and we are looking to continue the relationship. It’s the best pool around for our meets that is available.’
And Agnew is thrilled with the help he will have pool side.
“I would like to give a shout out to both my assistant coaches,’ he said. “Travis Wagner, who has been the bridge from the old team to the new team and has been very helpful to me. He is a teacher in the district and that’s a huge asset to our program. And he knows what he is doing on the deck because he swam in high school out in Harrisburg, and then also in college.
“And then I have last year’s National YMCA coach of the Year in Kathy Cook as my assistant coach there too. She has taught so many kids from the ground up and will be a big help with the kids who are just taking up swimming in high school.
“Having Travis and Kathy will make me a better coach. I feel I have a really great coaching staff, and a great team this year, and I am grateful for it.’