After swimming at his first state meet last season, junior Everet Andrew is looking to take the next step, according to Loyola head coach Mike Hengelmann.
As a sophomore, Andrew qualified in the 500-yard freestyle and on both the 200 and 400 freestyle relay teams. He narrowly missed scoring in the 500, placing 13th, but Andrew helped the 400 free relay take 12th at Evanston.
“Last year, his goal was to get there,” Hengelmann said. “Now, it’s time for him to score as an individual. I think he can make his mark in the 500.”
Andrew is one of three returning state qualifiers for the Ramblers. His sister, Olivia Andrew (Class of 2017), is one of the most decorated swimmers in Loyola history with 15 state medals. She is a sophomore swimmer at UCLA. Everet and Olivia’s father, Phil Andrew, swam at Illinois.
Also back for the Ramblers are both senior Ben Dukes and junior Luke Maurer.
The Ramblers closed out the 2018 portion of their competition schedule Friday with a win over St. Ignatius. It was Loyola’s third consecutive dual-meet victory. Following a loss to Evanston in the opener, the Ramblers beat St. Charles North, one of the favorites to win the state title, and St. Patrick.
Loyola’s next meet is Evanston’s invitational Jan. 5.
“It’s been a good start,” Hengelmann said. “For the rest of the month, we will log a lot of training. Once we hit January, the season will be almost over.”
Maurer enjoyed a memorable season as a sophomore, taking third in the 100 free and fourth in the 200 free. His preliminary times in the 100 (45.52 seconds) and 200 (1:38.63) rank second in program history. His father, Erik Maurer (Class of 1989), is first in both events. Luke qualified in two individual events for the state meet as a freshman but didn’t score in either one.
“He showed a nice progression,” Hengelmann said. “This year, it’s about fine-tuning some things, like his starts and turns. Little technique things here and there, and he will put in the work. It’s nice that he and Everet train together because they are good at pushing each other. Both of them are grinders.”
Maurer and Dukes joined Andrew on the 400 free relay that scored at the state meet. Dukes qualified in the 500, but he didn’t advance past the prelims.
“Ben is in really good shape, the best I’ve ever seen in him at this point,” Hengelmann said. “He put together a nice summer and fall. He dropped a lot of time in the 500 to qualify last year. I would love for him to maybe score at the state meet this year.”
Remarkably, swimming isn’t Dukes’ primary sport at Loyola. A member of the crew team, he plans to row at Syracuse.
Junior Noah Zahn, who specializes in butterfly, is the only other swimmer back to the Ramblers who competed at the Niles North Sectional.
Dukes and backstroker Brian Solmos are the team’s two seniors. Six freshmen are training with varsity, a larger than usual number, Hengelmann said.
The MCAC meet is Feb. 1 at Fenwick. The Ramblers are at the Niles North Sectional, which is Feb. 16.