It was a tough decision, but Collingswood High School all-American swimmer Andy Schuehler will be taking his talents to Happy Valley next year.
The affable teenager was all smiles as he signed his letter of intent Friday, surrounded by his coaches and family. Although Schuehler’s major is currently undeclared, he had lots to say about the recruitment process, which he described as “a ton of fun,” but “very tiring.”
“We got to go to all the football games,” he said. “They take you to the dining hall; then they’ll give you money for your host for the weekend.”
Schuehler, who carries three Advanced Placement courses along with other honors classes, said it was tough to miss school for out-of-state travel, but that “I wanted to make sure I took all my trips I wouldn’t want to pass up my dream school.
“It was a really hard decision,” Schuehler said. “The day before I decided, I had a meet that night for my club team and I was not there at all mentally. I was talking to coaches the whole time. It was tough.”
Schuehler competes in the 100, 200, and 200 individual medley at breaststroke, and is regarded nationally as a solid prospect: tops in the state of New Jersey, according to collegeswimming.com, and a top five breaststroke swimmer in his graduating class.
He placed 22nd at the U.S. Open, his main meet this year, and expects to be an important piece of the puzzle at Penn State going forward.
“They recently lost their big breaststroker to graduation last year, so I’m filling a much-needed spot, or so they tell me,” Schuehler said. “[I] was their big recruiting effort.”
Location was “a big thing” in his decision, said Schuehler. Among his alternate considerations were Notre Dame, Auburn and the University of Tennessee, “and they’re just so far away,” he said. At Penn State, he can swim outdoors until November, and wouldn’t have to interrupt significantly his training schedule to travel home.
For a swimmer who’s been with the borough club team since the age of 6 and a year-round swimmer since the seventh grade, that routine is important. Schuehler does two-a-days three times a week and afternoon practices six of seven days a week.
Then again, said his father, Collingswood firefighter Glen Schuehler, Andy has always been highly self-motivated.
“Andy did everything himself,” Glen Schuehler said. “We were there for him and we went places with him [but] he set up the school visits, he talked to the coaches, he set up the trips. We just followed him.”
Andy Schuehler was rewarded for that motivation and talent with a little more than a half-year scholarship from the Nittany Lions—which, for a team that only gets 9.9 scholarships, is significant.
“He’s a top student,” CHS Principal Ed Hill said of Schuehler. “He’s the kind of student every high school should have.”