Bloomington

Coach: Bob Loy, 38th season

2015-16 results: 4th in Intercity, 6th in Big 12, 7th in sectional

Returning lettermen: Sr. – Reid Byers, Gus Jumonville, Josh Myers; Jr. - Justin Sharp, Austin Bicknell, Carter Burns, David Machek.

Newcomers to watch: Fr. - John "Robbie" Pratt, Kendal Cross, Paul Miller, Nick Sharp.

FYI: This 17-man squad will be Bob Loy's last before retiring after 38 years. Also in his last season after 22 years at BHS is diving coach John Becker, who is moving to Oklahoma. Reid Byers finished 23rd in last year's state 100 backstroke while Gus Jumonville was 38th in diving. Only seven men in Pantagraph area history have surpassed Byers' best of 53.16. He'll be targetting Justin Wolfe's 2008 school record of 52.17. Loy sees top-12 state potential in Byers, who also could challenge Michael Wolfe's 2013 200 IM school record of 1:55.29. Byers sped 1:58.91 last year. Jumonville could threaten George Metcalf's six-dive school record of 274.15 points and 11-dive record of 467.80. In Friday's season opener, Jumonville topped his 2015 six-dive best of 223.00 with a 240.60, the No. 10 score in area history. Freshman John "Robbie" Pratt, a butterflyer, is the son of the 1981 state 100 butterfly sixth-placer John Pratt, who once held the school record of 52.16.

Quoting: “We could round into a decent little team by the end, but we won't have near the depth (of last season). We've got to develop that. We'll have decent relays. Thirty-eight years is a long time. I still have a love for it. I still think I've got a lot to give back, but I think it's time for somebody to step in and see what they can do. I've got some other interests like seeing my nine grandkids.” — Bob Loy.

Central Catholic

Coach: Bill Rhodes, 5th season

2015-16 results: 5th in Intercity, 11th in sectional

Returning lettermen: Sr. - Charlie Cresci, Barrett Lee; Jr. – Max Moews, Noah Bevilacqua; So. - Christopher Russell, Nick Barnes, Ben O'Meara.

Newcomers to watch: Fr. - Liam Greil, Cory Hundman.

FYI: This 15-man squad includes a school-record seven freshmen. The previous record was four. None of the Saints swim year-round, but 14 have racing experience. Contenders for team MVP include co-captains Max Moews and Christopher Russell. Moews' best event is the 100 breaststroke while Russell is equally strong at several different strokes. In a seven-team gathering of "rural" schools last year at Olympia, Central Catholic placed second behind Pontiac. That meet on Feb. 4 at Olympia will again be a focus for the Saints, who have no likely state qualifiers. 

Quoting: "The kids are excited about that type of meet (on Feb. 4) because we treat it like a sectional. We had a lot of fun at that. It's the kind of meet where teams are decent, but there are not a lot of kids who are moving on (to state)." — Bill Rhodes.

Normal Community

Coach: Heather Budak, 11th season

2015-16 results: 1st in Intercity, 5th in Big 12, 3rd in sectional

Returning lettermen: Sr. – Peyton Bergmann, Landon Harr, Bradley Rosario, Tanner Tucci, Andrew Woith, Gregg Zaroogian; Jr. - Trevor Tucci, Mitchell Travis, Tyler Yuan; So. - Kevin Chen, Shannon Pinto.

FYI: In the state meet athletes with disabilities events, Trevor Tucci won four titles last season: the 200-yard freestyle (2 minutes, 49.31 seconds), 50 freestyle (37.62), 100 freestyle (1:21.62) and 100 breaststroke (1:53.98). This 24-man squad includes Peyton Bergmann, who sped 4:50.44 in the 500 free last year. He and Gregg Zaroogian were part of last year's first-string relays. First-year diver Isaac Sagars, a sophomore, has made impressive early progress. 

Quoting: Seven freshmen "all have some swimming experience and will be a very good group. As a whole, the team needs a few weeks in the water to get back into swimming shape, but we have a good solid group of swimmers to work with this year. Peyton Bergmann has had a great year of training and is looking forward to a fantastic senior season. I look for really good things from Tyler Yuan. He is swimming fast for the start of the season." — Heather Budak.

Normal West

Coach: Becky Braman, 10th season

2015-16 results: 2nd in Intercity, 4th in Big 12, 4th in sectional, 9th in state

Returning lettermen: Sr. – Zach Mitchell, Clayton Warren; Jr. - Cole Marsden, Evan Beilfuss, Adam Jett, Caleb Jirik; So. - Connor Eicher, Reid Peterson.

Newcomers to watch: Fr. – Ben Rutledge, Tyler Ahrens.

FYI: This 31-man program enters a rebuilding phase with no returning state qualifiers. The top Wildcats train in lane one, but this is the first year Braman has no returnees from the previous season's lane one. Captain Zach Mitchell, Connor Eicher and Reid Peterson are among the top returnees from last year's sectional lineup. Diving duty will be handled by Clayton Warren, Caleb Jirik and Michael Dixon. Braman rates Peoria Notre Dame as the Big 12 favorite while U High gets the Intercity nod. Senior Seth Ritter, the school record holder in the 500 free (4:35.00), was sixth in last year's state meet, but chose not to come out.

Quoting: "It's kind of exciting to see some of the young talent come in. This might be one of our weaker years. It's been a good week and a half so far with attitude, with being positive towards each other and trying to pump each other up. I think the sportsmanship of this team is pretty similar to what last year's was." — Becky Braman.

University High

Coach: Michelle Meyer, 24th season

2015-16 results: 3rd in Intercity, 2nd in sectional

Returning lettermen: Sr. – Elijah Gray, Simon Heinrich, Kyle Johnson; Jr. - Harrison Fudge, Colton Stogner, Anthony Williamson; So. - Josh Nepomuceno.

FYI: This 14-man squad, which includes six freshmen, is ranked 21st in the state. Colton Stogner qualified ninth out of last season's state 50 free prelims, but was disqualified in the final. His best of 21.36 ranks seventh in area history. His 200 medley relay placed 19th with help from Josh Nepomuceno, Harrison Fudge and Anthony Williamson. Fudge was 22nd in the state 100 breaststroke while Williamson took 28th in the 100 free. Fudge has a breaststroke best of 58.83, which ranks fourth in area history, while Williamson topped out in the 100 free last year at 47.51. The Pioneers were 15th in the state 400 free relay with Stogner, Elijah Gray, Kyle Johnson and Williamson. Freshmen Matthew Hansel and Tom Stamets are fulltime divers while classmate Jake Harrison will dive and swim.

Quoting: “I'm really excited to start the season. We've got some great kids. They like to work hard and they've been doing a great job the past two weeks. It's been really neat to see how they've come together as a team. Everybody came back in good shape, which is nice. Hopefully that will help them attain their goals.” – Michelle Meyer.

— Compiled by Randy Sharer

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Sports Writer

Sports Writer for The Pantagraph.

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