The 2015-16 swimming and diving seasons at Columbus North did not live up to typical Bull Frog standards.
After winning 18 consecutive Conference Indiana titles, the North girls finished fourth under first-year coach Bridger Bell last season. The boys, which had won the previous two conference titles, took second.
Bell’s first season turned out to be his last. A week before the boys state meet in February, he accepted a job with Team Santa Monica in California.
Now faced with the task of getting the Bull Frogs back to the top of the conference and sectional is 23-year-old Logan Schaefer.
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“The community and the atmosphere of this city is great,” Schaefer said. “There’s a great history of swimming here, and people care about swimming in this community and want to pursue it and have their kids be involved in it. I want to help those kids learn to love the sport of swimming. It’s just a great place for all of that.”
Schaefer took over as coach at North and Donner Swim Club on Aug. 1. Since then, he’s been able to build up the numbers for the North boys and girls and for Donner.
The Summer Olympics, Schaefer said, fueled kids’ interest in swimming.
“The Olympic coverage helps Olympic sports, following the summer games, so our club has seen great numbers, and people are really excited about swimming right now,” Schaefer said.
After swimming at Southridge High School, Schaefer swam for one year at Indiana University. But then he was sidelined by an injury, and Hoosiers coach Ray Looze offered him a chance to be one of his assistants.
Schaefer jumped at the chance and spent his final three years of college on the IU coaching staff.
“It was a great experience,” Schaefer said. “I was very fortunate to be able to be a part of that team and continue on in my career. Ray is a great coach, as many people are just discovering. But he’s always been a great coach. I have a lot of respect for him and everything that he’s done to bring the program, along with the staff, to where they’re at right now.”
After graduating from IU, Schaefer returned to his high school alma mater as its head coach. Not long after the season ended at Southridge, he accepted the position with North and Donner.
Looze likened Schaefer to former Butler basketball and current Boston Celtics coach Brad Stevens in recommending Schaefer to Hester.
“He’s doing an excellent job,” Hester said. “Every time I have an interaction with coach Schaefer, I walk away very impressed with his vision and how he manages a practice. He has a lot of excitement surrounding the program right now.”
Schaefer is impressed with what he’s seen so far in a little more than three months in Columbus.
“I’m very happy to be here, and I enjoy the Columbus community,” Schaefer said. “It’s a very hard-working community, a very driven community and they’re very friendly. They’re very passionate about what they do, whether that be swimming or academics. They put everything they have into those endeavors. It’s a great place to be a part of something like this.”
Name: Logan Schaefer
High school: Southridge
College: Indiana University
Occupation: Head swimming coach at Columbus North High School and Donner Swim Club