Donner Swim Club has been instilling its core values of team excellence, hard work and courage into Columbus swimmers for almost seven decades.

July 4, 1948, was the first day anybody ever dove into the Donner swimming pool, and the swim club just celebrated its 69th anniversary last month. Donner swim coach Logan Schaefer is days away from hosting this year’s evaluation tryouts and is looking forward to celebrating the 70th anniversary this upcoming season.

Schaefer is just finishing his first year with the club after receiving his first coaching job in Huntingburg where he grew up as a swimmer.

“I’m very excited to be here in Columbus,” Schaefer said. “And very fortunate to be in an area that loves swimming.”

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Donner has a rich history of hosting successful championship meets, including the 1959 Long Course State Championships and the 2012 USA Swimming Central Zone 14-and-under Championships. Schaefer said opening the Donner pool to different tournaments and competitions over the years has benefited the overall community just as much as it has the participating swimmers. He said the tournaments have exposed those outside of the community to the architecture and hospitality of Columbus.

“Because of the Donner Swimming Club having a large impact on the youth community, those athletes take what they learn and take it back to the Columbus community and help contribute to that Columbus hospitality that everybody is aware of,” Schaefer said.

Schaefer said the main goal for the program moving forward is to continue to create a safe and fun environment that continues to teach community youth about excellence in all areas of life through swimming. That is the Donner Swim Club’s mission statement that the team has stayed committed to all these years.

The club accepts all ages from 4 years old to college students in their mid 20’s. Donner swimmers basically swim year around. There are up to seven competitions each year during the winter season, which runs from August to March. The summer season picks back up in April, lasting until August for about seven or eight more competitions.

The winter season is just around the corner, and tryout evaluations are from Tuesday through Thursday. The coaches put each swimmer in the pool to do a number of different activities in order to asses them properly. Schaefer said there is no limit to the team roster, and they welcome swimmers of all ages and abilities.

“What we do is welcome everybody and assess their current swimming ability,” Schaefer said. “And based on that, we’ll determine if they fit best within the club.”

Jump in with Donner

Donner Swim Club will hold walk-in evaulations from 5:30 to 6:30 p.m. Tuesday through Thursday at Donner Aquatic Center, 739 22nd st.

For more information, call 812-276-2683.

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Frank Bonner is a sports writer for The Republic. He can be reached at or 812-379-5632.