Boys swimming: Conant's Loeger shines at home invite

By Bill Esbrook
Daily Herald Correspondent
Updated 1/28/2023 7:49 PM

After his win in the 50 free at the 33rd annual Cougar Classic, Conant swimmer Bryce Loeger set his sights on the 100 back, to be held in the latter stages of the meet.

The junior said that his goal was to break the school and pool record in the backstroke, and it was mission accomplished on both counts.


He finished at 50.72 in the 100 back, setting both the pool and school marks by a wide margin.

It was quite a juxtaposition of the elements Saturday. To get to the Conant pool one had to drive by the Cougars football field, which resembled a "frozen tundra" with snow covering the bleachers and precipitation pelting down.

Inside the balmy natatorium, however, it might as well have been the middle of summer as there was no way to check the conditions outside -- but that didn't bother Loeger, who said that the Conant pool "runs a little colder than most pools we swim in, so not much of a change."

It was Loeger who heated things up with his two wins, especially in the 50 free where he just out touched Downers Grove North senior Aiden Musso.

Loeger swam 21.68 to Musso's 21.71.

"I thought it was a really strong swim," said Loeger, "especially coming off a meet (against Schaumburg) last night."

"I wish I could have hit the wall a little bit better, and I've got to smooth that out before sectionals and state come up. Just have to continue to work on the finish and get in a little bit quicker."

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It was a heartbreaking loss for Musso, but he came back on the next event, the 100 butterfly, to score a win in the time of 51.94.

"I decided to go out faster in the first fifty today," said Musso of his 100 fly victory. "I went out in like 23 and back in about 28. Hopefully by sectionals and state, I'll be able to get that last fifty down."

"I was working on my arm speed, because I've been working on my legs all year and now my arms kind of have to catch up. That race (the 50) was so close, on my turn I kind of looked a little bit (to check the progress of Loeger) and it motivated me to go faster."

The effort of Musso Saturday was extremely impressive to Downers Grove North coach Kellie Logterman.

"He's an extremely hard worker and a great kid," said Logterman. "He knows exactly what he needs to do and exactly what to do to get there."

"He's very good at self-evaluation and always knows what has happened after his races, what went right and what went wrong. We try to work on some of that in practice -- we know that these (the 50 free and the 100 fly, which are one after another) are his races, and we work on that in practice to withstand that time frame."


Maine South used relay wins to score the team title in Hoffman Estates. The Hawks won the 200 medley relay, the 200 free relay, and the 400 free relay.

The victorious swimmers for Maine South were Ljubomir Popovic, Bart Kubis, Dominic Mazurek and Max Fedorenko in the 200 medley; Fedorenko, Sam Sacor, Mason Par and Dragos Cozma in the 200 free; and Cozma, Popovic, Kubis and Zach Chapovalov in the 400 free.

"We really competed hard today," said Hawks coach Don Kura. "We were missing some kids due to illness and other commitments, but our kids here really embraced the opportunity."

Mazurek took first in the 200 individual medley; Holden Wheeler of Buffalo Grove won the diving competition; Emanuel Anguelov of Rolling Meadows was fastest of all in the 100 free; Aiden Woo of host Conant triumphed in the 500 free; while Edwin Serrano from Mundelein took the first place medal in the 200 free.

Deerfield finished 2nd team-wise, followed by Rolling Meadows, Mundelein, Conant and DGN.

And Trojans coach Logterman might have been speaking for the majority of the fans, coaches and swimmers in the pool when she commented on the snowy conditions outside.

"I'm trying not to think," said Logterman, "about what it looks like out there."

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