As the Ramblers head into Saturday’s MCAC meet at Illinois-Chicago, Shannon Kearney is the only swimmer under the state-qualifying standard in any event.
The senior has bettered the state cut in both the 50-yard freestyle and 100-yard backstroke. A North Carolina State commit, Kearney took third in the backstroke last season.
But Saturday’s meet is a last chance for all of Loyola’s potential state qualifiers to compete one more time before the Nov. 11 sectional at Glenbrook South. The Ramblers will have several of the state’s top teams to test themselves against Saturday, including two-time defending state champion Rosary.
“We have a two-week layoff after this meet, so we want to be sharp [Saturday] and fine-tune our racing,” Loyola head coach Mike Hengelmann said. “We will see a lot of the best girls in the state, which is a good thing.”
Joining Kearney, senior and Wisconsin commit Margaret Guanci and senior and Texas Christian commit Cassidy Coughlin are Loyola’s best bet to earn state bids in individual events, according to Hengelmann. But junior Catherine Holecek is not far off the state cut in the 100 butterfly.
Hengelmann said the 200 medley relay and 200 free relay — both of which feature Coughlin, Guanci and Kearny — are rounding into form.
“They are coming together,” he said. “We had some nice swims against Rosary [on Oct. 17]. Both are about a second away from the state cut. The 400 will be much tougher.”
Junior Emily Rourke will compete in Friday’s diving portion of the MCAC meet at Fenwick. Hengelmann said she is one of the favorites to win the league title.