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1937 Swimming Team (2002)

Not since the days of 1931, when the Maroon and Gold swimmers were supreme in the Catholic League, had Loyola produced a team with the all-around strength of the 1937 Swimming Team. In a tremendous display of balance in the championship meet, the Loyola men took at least second place in every event on their way to a stunning upset and a Chicago Catholic crown The journey to the title began in early December when Coach Alex Wilson (Hall of Fame, 1985) began training his men. In keeping with time-honored custom the Loyola men plowed to an opening day victory over Sullivan. Seniors Luckhardt, Dougherty, Juhnke, Detmer, and Corby led the squad to victory; Carroll, Hulin, Hoskins, and Healy showed up as great prospects. Shortly afterwards, a strong Roosevelt team nosed out the Loyola mermen, 29 to 26. And then Steinmetz was sunk in Loyola pool, leaving no traces; every first and second went to the home team. Practice meets over, Loyola met the strong defending champions, Fenwick, in a disastrous defeat, 43 to 24. Sobered by the defeat, the determined squad avenged the earlier Roosevelt win by a 35 to 31 Maroon and Gold victory. The Chicago Catholic League championship meet, after a fortnight of careful training and respite from competition, found Loyola's swimmers in prime condition. It was held at Loyola on Sunday, March 14. Fenwick was the experts' choice for first, with Loyola and St. Leo trailing. But it was an afternoon of intense rivalry, blanket finishes, and surprises for Fenwick. The first surprise came at the start as Loyola (Detmer, Carroll, Daougherty, Luckhardt) swam away with the sprint relay for the ninth consecutive year. Next Charlie Juhnke flailed his way to a close second in the breaststroke. Captain Luckhardt and "Bud" Detmer, who had already pulled the relay team to victory, then took first and fourth in the fifty-yard freestyle for another six points. Upsetting Fenwick hopes, Ed Corby spurted to a gratifying backstroke triumph. And then came the most thrilling race of the day. Swimming his third event, Luckhardt touched out Rooney of Leo in the hundred-yard freestyle; third place was won by sophomore Walter Kelly of Loyola. Ray Dougherty thrilled the crowd by taking second place in the diving. And, when Corboy, Juhnke, and Kelly pulled the medley relay team to a second, Loyola knew that victory was theirs. So ended a memorable journey for the Loyola Swimming Team of 1937, as once more the Maroon and Gold could call themselves the champions of the Chicago Catholic League.

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