Freshman Luke Maurer couldn’t ask for two better parents as a swimmer.
His father — Erik Maurer, a 1989 Loyola graduate — captured four individual state championships, two in the 100-yard freestyle and two in the 200 freestyle. But it’s his mother, Lea Maurer (formerly Loveless), who owns the most impressive résumé in the family.
Lea won a gold medal at the 1992 Barcelona Games as a member of USA’s 4×100-meter medley relay team. She also won a bronze medal in the 100 backstroke. What’s more, she swam on three national championship teams at Stanford, where she met Erik.
“Luke comes from a great pedigree,” Loyola head coach Mike Hengelmann said. “But he doesn’t rest on it. He’s a worker, a grinder. He goes after every set and has a terrific attitude. He trusted the system.”
Maurer was rewarded for his season-long efforts Saturday by qualifying for the state meet in the 100-yard freestyle and 200 freestyle and as part of the 400 freestyle relay at the Niles North Sectional. He was one of four swimmers and two divers from Loyola who qualified for the state meet, which is Friday and Saturday at New Trier.
“Luke really had himself a day,” Hengelmann said. “His races were impressive. I hope it’s a day he will remember.”
Maurer set career-best times in both of his individual events, swimming the 100 in 47.07 seconds and the 200 in 1:42.01. Out of 16 sectionals across the state, he had the ninth-best time in the 100 and 13th-best time in the 200.
“We won’t put any pressure on him this weekend,” Hengelmann said. “We want him to go and enjoy his first experience at the state meet.”
But Maurer wasn’t the only Rambler to have a big day in Skokie. All four of the swimmers clocked personal-best times in their individual events.
Senior Nathaniel Guenther, the Lawless Award winner, qualified in the 200 IM (1:55.78) and 100 breaststroke (59.00). His breaststroke time established a new program record.
“That’s one of the oldest records on our board, and it’s always been a goal of his,” Hengelmann said. “It’s pretty special for him to break it his senior year.”
Senior Daniel McGowan qualified in the 200 (1:43.87) and 500 (4:40.23). Guenther, Maurer and McGowan teamed up with junior Thomas Barr to advance in the 400 free relay with a season-best time of 3:10.96.
Both of Loyola’s divers qualified for the state meet, too. Senior Christopher Canning scored 552.70 points, and junior Alex O’Toole totaled 472.75 points to earn at-large bids.
The Michigan-bound Canning will be a contender for the state title. He was second last season, third as a sophomore and fourth as a freshman. No Loyola boys diver has ever won a state championship.
“I am hoping he has a great close to his career this weekend,” Hengelmann said.