For five years, Robert Neuendorf was an important part of one of the most successful high school sports programs in the history of Rockland County, the Tappan Zee High School swimming and diving team. He was undefeated in dual-meet competition and the Rockland County championships for four years and at the Section 9 championships for three. In 1976, his eighth-grade year, he became the youngest Rockland County swimming champion and meet record holder at the age of 13. He was also a five-time runner-up at the New York State championships. During the course of his high school career, Robert held or broke 15 Rockland County records and six Section 9 records. When he graduated, he held five Section 9 records, seven Rockland County records, and all but one of TZ’s swimming records.
After 27 years, Robert continues to hold a Rockland County record and two school records. In 1980, his senior year, Robert was name Tappan Zee High School’s Male Athlete of the Year, was selected All-State and attained All-America honors. That same year, The Journal News published the top times in Rockland County for the eight individual swimming events and two relays. Robert was ranked first in every event except one. In addition, he became Rockland County’s first five-time, first-team, All-County selection, in one sport.
When not competing with Tappan Zee, Robert trained with the Badger Swim Club in Larchmont, New York, a club that has produced several Olympic gold medalists and world record holders. Robert was a member of several nationally ranked Badger relay teams and was a competitor at both the Junior and Senior National Swimming Championships in 1979 and 1980.
Robert is a 1984 graduate of the University of Maryland. He attended Maryland on an athletic scholarship and was a four-year letterman. Maryland competed in the NCAA Division I Atlantic Coast Conference, where Robert was a four-year ACC championship qualifier and finalist. He also set Maryland school records in the 200-yard backstroke, 200-yard freestyle and as a member of the 400-yard medley relay. In 1982, he was selected as a member of the Atlantic Coast Conference Honor Roll, an honor that recognized the academic and athletic achievements of its athletes.
In 2004, Robert returned to the world of competitive swimming as a coach for the United States Swimming team the New York Sharks Aquatics. He returned to Tappan Zee as a volunteer coach’s assistant in 2006. Robert is the son of William and Patricia Neuendorf. William has been a Rockland County swim official for more than 30 years. Robert’s brother William and sisters Diane and Joan also swam for Tappan Zee. Joan was a 2004 Rockland County Hall of Fame inductee.
Since 1987, Robert has been a Special Agent for the Federal Bureau of Investigation. He has received several meritorious service awards including the Department of Justice Award for Public Service. He married Laura McCloskey in 1988. Laura is the sister of Tappan Zee and Badger teammate James McCloskey, a 1983 New York State swimming champion. Laura and Robert have two sons: 14-year-old Reed, and 12-year-old Lance. Both are members of the Tappan Zee High School swimming and diving team. Reed is a two-time All-County Honorable Mention selection, while Lance competes in diving.