Senior diver and captain Emily Rourke has a chance to join select company this season.
One of five in program history to earn a state medal, Rourke is looking to become the third with at least two. Elysse Rowland (Class of 2007) owns three state medals, including a state title in 2005, and Lauren Roth (Class of 2001) has two.
A two-time state qualifier, Rourke finished 11th last season. She’s the only one back to the team who scored points at the state meet last year.
“We are looking for her to place high again,” Loyola head coach Mike Hengelmann said. “She’s going to be surrounded by two other talented divers this year, and I think that’s really going to help her practices.”
Loyola — which graduated three key contributors from last season in Cassidy Coughlin, Margaret Guanci and Shannon Kearney — starts its season Friday against Evanston on the road.
In addition to Rourke, junior Chloe Brown and sophomore Allison Mulvey both competed at the state meet a year ago. Brown was on the 200-yard freestyle relay team, while Mulvey was a member of the 200 medley relay team. Both relays took 13th, missing out on the state finals by one place.
Mulvey’s primarily a breaststroker, and Brown swims backstroke, butterfly and freestyle.
“We are looking for those girls to step up,” Hengelmann said.
Junior Molly Ball and sophomore Maddy Reed are two swimmers Hengelmann said he expects to make a big jump this season.
One of the biggest challenges the Ramblers face this season is they are without a home pool. Loyola currently is undergoing capital improvements, including the construction of a new aquatics facility. The hope is the pool is ready for the 2019 girls swimming and diving season.
“I think the hardest part is that we have a big team, and we haven’t been able to be all together when we practice,” Hengelmann said. “We are missing that team atmosphere.”
Seniors Catherine Holecek, Aidan Kokonis-O’Malley and Lauren Vallace are the other captains.