AURORA — Mesabi East’s Logan Schroeder had a clear turning point in his athletic career as he entered sixth grade.
Schroeder played basketball leading up to that time but decided he was going to make a change that year.
“I just didn’t feel like I was the best at basketball so I thought in sixth grade I’d try something new,’’ Schroeder said at the school recently.
The Giants swimmer didn’t succeed immediatley in his new sport, however.
“My sixth grade year was more of feeling how it is, what it’s like. Then my seventh grade year was when it really started to take off.’’
He was a second away from breaking a meet record in the 100 backstroke as a seventh-grader. In his next two seasons, he broke a record in each year, which included winning the Section Meet in the 100 backstroke (in record time) and taking 14th at state last winter as a freshman.
Schroeder’s sophomore season has been equally impressive so far. He has won multiple races at many meets, including the 50 freestyle, 500 freestyle, 100 freestyle and 100 backstroke. He has also helped numerous relays win, as well.
For his successful season, Schroeder has been named the Mesabi Daily News Prep Athlete of the Week.
What has been the reason behind his continued accomplishments this season?
“It’s just a lot of hard work. Coming in the mornings, staying after practice. Just the little things add up a lot,’’ he said. The extra work includes practicing turns, starts and many other things. “Fine tuning stuff to just make everything the best it can be.’’
Head coach Terry Layman also pointed out that Schroeder, now 15, has worked hard ever since he started with her in the sixth grade.
Despite his young age, Layman said Schroeder is already leading the team. “He’s willing to step up and say, ‘Let’s do this’ ’’ to his teammates.
That has been an important factor as the team has only one senior, two juniors and two sophomores.
Everyone else on the squad is a freshman or younger, Schroeder said. The team is a lot younger than the Giants are used to, and he is proud to see how the group has improved since the season began.
Schroeder remembers being a young, seventh-grade swimmer himself. He was up against his junior and senior teammates and was getting pushed a lot harder. “It was hard to keep up with them, but I really think that helped me in the long run.’’
He “loved’’ the competition, though. “I liked the satisfaction of getting beat by them but knowing that I was still improving.’’
The Mesabi East swimmer improved a lot in the following years with his own hard work and coaches Layman and assistant Jon Isaacson.
After finishing in the top 16 at state last year, Schroeder has his sights set high for sections and hopefully state this season.
“I’d like to break my record from last year,’’ he said of his 56.46 time that won him the 2018 Section 6A title in the 100 backstroke.
He also believes he can do even better at the State Meet.
“I’d like to get top eight in the 100 backstroke at state. I think it’s doable.’’
Schroeder is also looking forward to today’s True Team Section Meet in Hibbing, which is “one of the bigger meets’’ in the middle of the year.
With all the top swimmers usually taking part, “you can really see where everyone is going to be and what the competition is going to be for sections’’ next month. “That’s where we’ll find out who’s in the top eight for all of the events right now.’’
Schroeder always looks forward to both the individual and the relay events at the meets. The relays are fun, he added, because “they push you a lot more than individual events. ... “You are swimming for three other guys so you can’t let them down.’’
Layman is confident Schroeder can reach his goals this season. “I think he will be able to if everything goes well.’’
One thing on the 15-year-old’s side is being a “meet swimmer.’’ Layman said that means he is one of the lucky athletes that doesn’t get super nervous before competing.
What does Schroeder need to do to improve heading into the season’s final stretch?
“Just keep doing what he’s doing,’’ Layman said. “He just needs to stay focused and increase as much as his body can handle.’’
Getting tough mentally is also important, she said.
“Who knows what his limits are, really.’’