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When Sam Loescher took his recruiting trip to the University of Wyoming last month, it was 80 degrees in Columbus and snowing in Laramie, Wyo.
The Columbus North senior swimmer always had told his parents he’d go to a college where it didn’t snow. But after experiencing plenty of positives on that visit, he figured he could deal with the weather.
“I really loved the team, and I felt like it’s a rising program, so I can help them out and they can help me out,” Loescher said. “I hope to excel. I’ll get used to the cold. It will be fine for me.”
Loescher, who made a verbal commitment last week, said Wyoming coaches first contacted him this summer. The Cowboys, who moved from the Mountain Pacific Sports Federation Conference to the Western Athletic Conference this year, are led by Tom Johnson and assistant Matt Leach, a former Indiana University swimmer.
“At first, I was like ‘Oh, Wyoming. I bet they aren’t that good,’” Loescher said. “But I got to know them, and I see the team has a good program, and I get to train 7,200 feet up, which is good.”
“He’s already fast,” North coach Jim Sheridan said of Loescher. “He’s right in there in the mix because Indiana is a fast state. But he’s going to get so much faster.”
Last year, Loescher finished fourth in the state in the 100-yard freestyle and tied for fifth in the 50 freestyle. He also swam on the Bull Dogs’ second-place 200 freestyle relay team and third-place 400 freestyle relay team.
“Most universities that are growing get the best of the best for what their programs are, and Wyoming has a distance coach and a sprint coach,” Sheridan said. “Sammy is going to have somebody paying attention just to the 50 and the 100 free. At our level of program, we don’t have that logistic.”
Sheridan also thinks the 6-foot-4 Loescher will get a lot stronger.
“In the last two years, he’s probably grown six inches, and he’s all arms and legs,” Sheridan said. “We have folks here that can still out-bench him, and I think by the time his freshman year or sophomore year gets done, he’s going to be stronger than those guys, and people around the country are going to say ‘Where did he come from?’”
Loescher ranks 35th out of 475 in his class with a 4.05 GPA. The son of two doctors plans to major in biology and go to med school with the hope of becoming an orthopedic surgeon.
Loescher has high hopes for his senior swim season. Three of the top four finishers in the 50 freestyle from last year’s state meet have graduated. Two of the top three are gone from the 100 freestyle, but the returner is state champion Blake Pieroni of Chesterton.
“I want to win state in the 50 free,” Loescher said. “(The 100 free) will be a tougher race with Pieroni, but I think I can make a run at it.”
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