Even though most know Dave as a swimming coach, he began his relationship with the swimming world in the water. Swimming in high school, Dave found success in the 200 and 500 yard freestyle that took him to the University of Minnesota. Before graduating with a degree in physical education and child psychology, Dave had already started making his mark as a coach. He not only helped start the ABC Aquatic Club (Anoka, Blaine, and Coon Rapids), Dave also became manager and assistant coach at the Olympic Training Center (OTC). While working at the OTC, he gained invaluable experience working with multiple Olympians and Olympic coaches – notably George Haines, a seven-time coach of the Olympic team.
Dave took his knowledge of swimming and became head coach of the Bloomington Aquatic Club, and within his six-years turned the Bloomington Aquatic Club around from a struggling club to a championship program. Next, Dave teamed up with John Thomas to run the first ever coach owned club in Minnesota: Marauder Aquatic Club, winning age group titles, sending athletes to junior nationals, senior nationals, and the Olympic trials. With that level of success, it’s no surprise that Dave was recruited to coach at the newly opened University of Minnesota Natatorium with the Gopher Swim Club; his success continued with him sending swimmers to senior nationals, and taking one athlete from the state to the world level.
After an attempted retirement from the swimming world, the siren song of swimming brought Dave back to once again coach at Northern Lights Aquatics (formerly ABC Aquatic). Dave went on to found our Great Wolf Swim Team in 2004 and once again found himself master of rapid success, coaching athletes to achieve: state records, national records, Olympic trial qualifiers, NCAA individual titles, and a 13-year old NCAA record.
We are honored to have David Bentz as our founder, head coach, and living testimony of our mission to help all swimmers maximize their potential.
Zack Anthony Strumbell
Zack grew up in Eveleth Minnesota. He learned to swim because his parents could not. He started taking lessons at the local YMCA, and then after watching his sister join the school swim team, he and his twin brother decided they would give it a try. He swam for Eveleth Gilbert High School under the direction of Minnesota Hall of Fame coach Gordy Rodby. While swimming in high school Zack earned 4 individual Minnesota state titles, was a 3 time Scholastic All-American, and a 2 time All-American. He also broke many high school records (which are still there today), the high school class A state record in the 200 freestyle, and his senior year was named Minnesota Swimmer of the Year.
Zack started his club swimming journey as a 13-14 year old for Dave Bentz at the Great Wolf Swim Team. While swimming for Great Wolf Zack was top 16 in the 50 free in the 13-14 age group, and along with his teammates also broke 2 national age group records for relays and re-wrote the record books for Minnesota club swimming in numerous relays for 13-14 and 15-16. He qualified for Junior Nationals as a 15 year old, and had the chance to travel around the country going to many national and international level meets. Zack went on to swim for California Polytechnic State University where he broke 3 school relay records and also the 100 butterfly record, and qualified for the U.S. Open the summer after freshman year.
He started his coaching journey in October of 2011 under the direction of Dave Bentz. He now is the assistant national coach. Zack has taken part in coaching swimmers who have ranked the top in the nation, set Minnesota club state records, achieved multiple Minnesota state titles, qualified for Junior Nationals, and was ranked number one in the country. Zack is fortunate enough to say he coaches for the team that taught him so much, not only about swimming, but about life. Zack is lucky to have such a great group of kids to work with and looks forward to what is possible in the future. “The only way of finding the limits of the possible is by going beyond them into the impossible”
Head Age Group Coach
Great Wolf Swim Team is honored to have a swim coach who began his career before the popularization of swimming goggles and the 25-yard competition pool, Coach John. Starting his career in the swimming world at St. Paul Highland Park High School, John learned of the elation standing on a podium can bring when he qualified and placed at the state meet.
John went on the swim with Gustavus Adolphus College, in one of the few remaining 20-yard pools and still with no goggles. Nevertheless, by the time John left with his degree in health and physical education, he had also earned the title of the Minnesota Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (MIAC) champion in the 50 free.
Success followed John into his coaching career. At Burnsville High School, he led his swimmers to state finals and coached the first high school swimmer to break two minutes in the 200 Individual Medley. At Mounds View Swim Club, John coached our very own Dave Bentz. After a respite from the swimming world, John returned to coach at the Bloomington Aquatic Club with the now Coach Dave. John also lent his talents to the Edina High School girls swimming, achieving: three state championships in five years, four consecutive 100 butterfly state championships, national high school record in 100 breast stroke, and aptly earning Coach of the Year. John then coached the Marauder Aquatic Club with similar success.
After a venture at the Saint Paul Hotel and the University Club in St. Paul, John found his way back to coaching alongside Dave with the Great Wolf Swim Team. With insistence on proper technique, race strategy, and “finding a way no one ever imagined,” John helps coach all of his swimmers to insurmountable success.
Age Group Coach
Age Group Coach
Growing up in Marshall, MN Blair was
a part of the Marshall Meters Swim Club where his mother was a
coach. He has been swimming and coaching ever since.
Before coaching for Great Wolf, Blair
coached at Mounds View Swim Club, where he helped many age group
swimmers reach state finals. He then moved to Northern Lights
and Tsunami Swim Clubs. During this time, he had many swimmer win
state titles and participate in Junior and Senior Nationals.
Many of his swimmers have gone on to achieve division 1 college
scholarships at top name universities.
Blair came to the Great
Wolf Swim Team and loves to correct stroke mechanics and has a
passion for teaching his swimmers to swim correctly. Blair loves to
combine his knowledge and experience with his wit and humor.
Age Group Coach
Lana started swimming at the age of 10 1/2 for
the Bloomington Aquatic Club. She started on the novice team and
quickly moved up the ladder to the A team in less than a year. Her
first Champ times were in the 50 free and the mile. Coach Dave
came along when she was 13 and made her swim miles upon miles upon
miles. She had mostly Zone times throughout her age group
experience and was ranked top 16 in the nation in her distant
Lana qualified for the State Meet all 3 years
swimming for Burnsville High School back in 1981-1984. She placed
in the top 8 in each event and swam the butterfly leg, her junior
year, on the 200 Medley Relay with her sister, Lisa, breaking the
record for a championship win. Lana also achieved All American
Status. Her swimming career continued at Saint Catherine's for one
year, and a season at Oral Roberts University. She began teaching
private swimming lessons at the age of 21, worked for Flagship
Athletic Club in Eden Prairie, Council Oaks Learning Center in
Oklahoma and LifeTime Fitness in Champlin and Fridley. She also
assisted the Bloomington Aquatic Club, Northern Lights Aquatics and
the Maple Grove Muskies.
Lana coached the Pups and Trackers from
2004-2008 and returned in 2015 after her kids graduated from High
School. She is a wife, mom of five adult children, grandma and a
group fitness instructor/personal trainer for the past 31
years. She loves working with the Pups and Trackers and says,
"It's bitter sweet when I have to let my swimmers move to the
Hunters group because I feel like they're my own!"
Age Group Coach
Amy started swimming competitive at age 10 for the Saint Paul Swim Club. Prior to joining the team, she had never swum a lap or even passed beginner level swimming lessons. After an interesting first year, she began to master the four strokes. As her swimming progressed she became a nationally ranked swimmer in multiple events, won many age group titles and broke several state records. As a club swimmer she qualified for junior nationals, senior nationals and went to the Olympic trials in 1984 in Indianapolis Indiana.
Amy’s high school career began in eight grade when she joined Johnson High School’s swim team and went to state in the 50 freestyle placing 2nd in finals. From 9th grade through 12th she won the 100 butterfly state titles and held the state record for over a decade. Overall, she achieved 5 first place finishes, 4 second place finishes and was a high school All-American.
After graduating high school Amy attended Arizona State University on a swimming scholarship. There she specialized in the 100 and 200 butterfly and freestyle sprints. While at ASU she qualified for NCAA’s in both individual events and relays.
In January 2013, her daughter joined the Great Wolf Swim Team and Amy eventually made her way onto the pool deck to coach. She is excited about the energy the age group swimmers have and is thrilled to be working alongside some of the best coaches in USA swimming.
Age Group Coach
Nicole has be involved in swimming for over
35 years as a club swimmer, high school swimmer, college swimmer
and coach. She has
extensive coaching experience with a number of metro area clubs
(ABC swim club, MVSC, Jetstream Aquatics, and Edina swim club) and
also high schools (Elk River, Champlin Park, Skyview in Montana,
Anoka and Centennial).
Nicole has had the honor of being a Team Minnesota Zone coach for
11 years working with the 10 & under girls, 11-12 girls, 15
& over girls and 3 years as the co-head coach.
As a swimmer, her personal accomplishments
include being captain for her high school and college teams. She was a high school state
qualifier and 2 time NCAA qualifier. Coach Nicole’s career coaching
*25 + state champions ages 8 & under to
*50 +zone qualifiers
* 5 junior national qualifiers
*3 state championships
Nicole loves seeing the faces of swimmers
when they have an “I get it moment” or when they
surprise themselves with their swims. She will be working with the Alpha
Nicole is married to Mark and has 3
children, who all grew up swimming competitively. She grew up in Ramsey and graduated
from Anoka High School and then graduated from the College of St.
Catherine with a degree in Elementary Education and middle school
math. She currently teaches
Minnesota history at Northdale Middle School.