As the youngest of four boys in a swimming family, Sam Loescher was often stuck with used material when it came to swimming trunks.
These days, the Columbus North junior isn’t lacking for the right equipment, and he’s making the most of his opportunities. Loescher is seeded second in both of his individual events going into this weekend’s state meet.
“Sammy always got the hand-me-down suits, and we used to think he was wearing a baggie when he’d get up on the blocks,” Columbus North coach Jim Sheridan said. “It was always hilarious because they used to hang either at his knees or below his knees, and he would fight through the water dragging that stuff. I think that’s why he’s so successful here wearing the shorts in practice — because that’s what he did as a competitor years ago.”
Now, he’s wearing out the competition.
The Loescher file
NAME: Sam Loescher
School: Columbus North
State Events: 50-yard freestyle, 100 freestyle, 200 freestyle relay, 400 freestyle relay
Family: Parents Rolf and Donna; brothers Justin, Corey and Timo (brothers all swam for North)
After finishing 12th in the 50-yard freestyle and 13th in the 100 freestyle at state last year, Loescher has had a breakout junior season. He swam 21.12 seconds to win the 50 freestyle and 46.00 to take the 100 freestyle in Saturday’s North Sectional.
“My start in the 50 was really good, compared to the prelims, and I had a really good turn and breakout,” Loescher said. “Then my 100, I just took it our really well and finished hard. I know that I have competition who probably tapered for sectional like me, and they’ll be bringing their A game to state.”
This weekend, Loescher will be going after a pair of wins in those events and in the 200 freestyle relay and 400 freestyle. He hopes to take down at least one school record — Connor Leehaug’s 20.83 mark in the 50 freestyle. Ryan Wochomurka’s 44.36 in the 100 freestyle seems safe ... but only for another year.
“I’m hoping to knock off the 50 free record and break 45.5 in the 100,” Loescher said.
“If he can get off the blocks as he did on Saturday, he can compete with anybody in the state,” Sheridan said. “The biggest key for him is getting that body moving. If he can get that body moving quickly forward, he’ll go with anybody that they put up against him.”
At 6-foot-1, getting off the blocks hasn’t always been easy for Loescher.
“Sammy is a young man still growing,” Sheridan said. “He is going to be a fantastic high school swimmer over the next year-and-a-half, and he’s also going to make some college very happy.”
Loescher has visited North Carolina, Davidson and Virginia and plans to contact Indiana University and Purdue. He ranks 26th in his class with a 4.09 grade-point average and wants to become a surgeon.
“Sammy Loescher is one of the most driven kids I’ve ever met in terms of his life, his academics and his athletics,” Sheridan said. “He’s a young man that works very, very hard with a desire to be very successful at anything that he might undertake. His goals have always been to get to the top of the podium at the state championships, and he knows that he has to put himself in position to do that.”