Bearsharktopus Aquatics Coaching Staff

Bobby Allison Owner/ Head Coach

Bobby began swimming as eight year old on the local Springfield YMCA Swim Team (SPY), and later made a transition to swim for Springfield Park District's team (SUSA) while also competing for Springfield Southeast High School during his high school years. After graduating, his swimming earned him a scholarship to the University of Illinois at Chicago (UIC).

As an adult, he has coached high school and summer league programs for over a decade, and used this expertise to begin Bearsharktopus Aquatics Stroke School. This program was developed to take interested swimmers to a higher level of competition and/or to prepare swimmers for competiitve or high school teams. The program helped all swimmers no matter location, program, or school. Interest in the program grew so quickly that after one year the club had to reassess their goals and expand. Many of the participating athletes wanted to swim competitively, but had been pushed off of other programs due to high volume or bad experience. After athletes and parents approached the coach about the desire to compete, Bearsharktopus Swim School was developed into a competitive team (BASC) with the support of the local Fit Club facility. BASC will enter into their fifth season in September 2020. 

Anthany Sullivan Age Group Coach (Springfield)/ CRO

A.J. Sullivan began swimming competively his freshman year of high school at Springfield Southeast. During his sophmore year, the team transitioned as Bobby Allison became the coach. During this period, A.J.'s knowledge of swimming and training techniques grew as he trained to become a swim lesson instructor.  In 2015, AJ and a few of his classmates began assistant coaching summer league programs, ultimatley leading to assisting with the development of Bearsharktopus Aquatics. He has been coaching with BASC since 2016 while attending Lincoln Land Community College, where he is studying accounting. 

Ryan Guhlstrof Age Group Coach (Springfield)

Ryan Guhlstorf began swimming competitively at the age of 5. He swam for the Taylorville, IL Park District and also traveled to Decatur, IL to swim with the Decatur Swim Club and the YWCA Decatur Gators.  He was a YMCA State Swimmer for the Gators as well as a National Swimmer for the Decatur Swim Club.  Ryan grew up with a family full of competitive swimmers as well as a mother who has been a swim coach and swim instructor for over 30 years. 

As an adult, Ryan has 3 boys who enjoy swimming.  After signing them up for competitive swimming, he volunteered to help with the local team, and soon became a coach. He has been coaching for 6 years and is now proud to be a part of BASC. He is passionate about keeping children motivated and involved in the sport.  
Vishnu Srinivasaraghavan Age Group Coach (Springfield)

Vishnu started swimming year-round with the Saluki Swim Club at the age of 10 and swam through high school. His competitive events included mid-distance freestyle, breastroke, and the individual medley. During high school and college, he taught swim lessons to a wide range of clientele, ranging from infants to adults. After finishing his undergraduate degree, Vishnu coached the Saluki Swim Club and Herrin Tigersharks for three years while enrolled in graduate school. Vishnu currently works as a geologist and obtained his Bachelor's Degree from Purdue University and his Master's Degree from Southern Illinois University Carbondale.

Cody Bailey Age Group Coach (Springfield)

Cody Bailey started swimming when he was in fifth grade and swam year-round with Saluki Swim Club until graduating high school and starting college. He swam for SIU his first two years of college before retiring from competition, swimming distance freestyle and butterfly, though he enjoyed training and competing in open water. Cody coached for three years with the Anna Blue Dolphins summer league team in Anna, IL and the Saluki Swim Club in Carbondale. He graduated from SIU in May of 2018 with a undergraduate major in Physiology and is currently in his second year at SIU School of Medicine.

Cassandra Sexton-Riggs Age Group Coach (Hillsboro)

Growing up in Florida, Cassie learned to swim before she learned how to walk! With a love for the swimming, canoeing, kayaking, surfing, snorkeling (really all things water), she got into lifeguarding and teaching swim lessons as a way to pay the bills during college. After college, she still loved aquatics and taught swim lessons as her side hustle. While on staff at the Jenks Trojans Aquatics center they asked her to be a bridge between swim lessons and swim team, which eventually lead to her becoming an assistant coach for the Jenks Trojans Swim Club. When Cassie and her husband moved to Illinois, she thought she had left aquatics behind. Boy, was she in for a shock when the local team needed a coach! Cassie serves as the BASC age group coach during the year, and coaches to the Montgomery County Sharks in the summer months. 

Trever Loafman Assistant Coach (Hillsboro)
Sarah McLaughlin Assistant Coach (Springfield)

Sarah McLaughlin started as a beginner swimmer in 2014, in order to compete for Springfield Southeast High School. She competed for BASC from the team's start in 2016 until she was among the first three graduating seniors from the team in 2018. She has served as an assistant coach for both BASC and the CASC Seacats since 2016. Now, Sarah attends Carthage College in Kenosha, WI, and swims distance freestyle for their women's swim team. 


Annalise Harms Youth Assistant Coach (Springfield)

Annie Harms is currently a senior at Glenwood High School. She began swimming in fourth grade and since then has swam competitively for many different programs. Annie began swimming with BASC two years ago and has grown to love the team. Her favorite events are the 500 free and the 100 breast.

Natalie McLaughlin Youth Assistant Coach (Springfield)

Natalie McLaughlin began swimming on SRFCs summer league team when she was 11 years old. She then went on to swim for Bobby Allison at the BASC stroke school, and continued to swim for BASC as it grew into a competitive club program. Natalie has also swam for the CASC Seacats summer league program, and began volunteer coaching last year. She has competed for Springfield Southeast High School during her freshman and sophmore seasons, and will continue to do so for the next two years. Natalie is now a juinor and excited to start coaching as a youth assistant coach.