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Roehr swims his last lap at UC

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With graduation passed and swimming season ending, University of Cincinnati alumnus Tyler Roehr has more free time on his hands than he normally does.

Usually his days would start at 5:15 a.m. so he could be in the pool for practice from 6 to 8 a.m. Then he would go to breakfast with his teammates, and then class before going back to an afternoon practice from 2 to 5 p.m. Evening classes rounded out Roehr’s days on campus.

Now, he passes time watching shows like “The Office,” “Silicon Valley” and “Westworld” on Netflix. Occasionally, he’ll even go for a run now that he doesn’t have practice.

For 16 years Roehr has been a swimmer.

“I grew up in the pool as a kid. I loved being there,” Roehr said. “I was actually kicked out of swimming lessons because I was five years old and I was swimming with kids who were 10. They were picking on me, and my teacher told my parents I was a distraction and I couldn’t come back.”

After that, he saw a YMCA swim team sign, and the rest is history. Roehr became a three-time Wisconsin high school state champion and began looking for a college to swim at.

Originally, UC was not even on his radar. However, he was contacted by a coach from the school and decided to respond because he was familiar with Cincinnati’s basketball and football teams.

He assumed the university had a good athletic department.

When he visited campus, he fell in love with UC and was attracted by the opportunity to compete on a team that was in a rebuilding phase of sorts. He even cancelled his visit to the University of Wisconsin — a school he had long imagined himself attending.

“Everything just fell into place. Every other school I visited had one or two things wrong with it and UC was just perfect,” Roehr said.

The decision to commit to UC paid off sooner rather than later for Roehr. Cincinnati won the first meet Roehr competed in against Xavier University, and the Bearcats swept the first event he swam in.

“We beat them for the first time in, I think, three or four years because we didn’t have scholarships for a couple of those years and they were clearly the much better team, but we had the better facilities, the better coaches — it came down to money,” Roehr said.

Things started to fall in place when the swim team kept building their momentum.

“We had a new team and new scholarships,” Roehr said.

This year the Bearcats beat Michigan State University at a meet, proving how much the team had grown since Roehr has been here.

Having been elected a team captain during this period of transition makes the experience almost full circle for Roehr.

Graduating completed the circle.

“I’m a little sad to be leaving campus, but it’s my time,” Roehr said. “I’m transitioning into the alumni role where it’s now my job to give back. The sport of swimming has given me so much. UC has given me so much.”

Ironically, Roehr — who studied health sciences at UC — will be going to Xavier to complete a master’s degree in nursing.

Hopefully, no Musketeers will spy his Bearcat C-paw tattoo.