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Time off may pay dividends for Belles this weekend

Dan Tapetillo | Friday, December 5, 2003

A newfound energy is lighting up the pool for the Belles.After a three-week break since their last meet, Saint Mary’s swimming coach Greg Petcoff has seen a new intensity and sense of camaraderie among the girls as the Gene Davis Invitational nears. With a loss to Albion before Thanksgiving break, Saint Mary’s has been anxious to prove themselves. Despite many strenuous workouts leading to this meet, the girls’ drive has persisted through and even thrived on the hard work. “The team has become more energetic and this is a good indication of the team ready to go,” Petcoff said. “It is a good sign of inner confidence.” This confidence is especially important as the invitational will be a test of what is to be expected at the end of the season. “It gives the girls a bit of rehearsal of the championships because it is an overnight meet,” Petcoff said. “It will prepare the girls to compete their best for more than one day.” This consistency will be especially important for the team as they will be contending for first place at the invitational. To attain this goal, Saint Mary’s will have to overcome home favorite Lawrence University, who took second last year.Other challenges will come from Carthage College, who defeated the Belles earlier this season, and Gustavus Agustus. Despite the weight of his team’s opponents, Petcoff expects season best times from every swimmer, especially from standouts Caitlin Fitzpatrick, Megan Ramsey and Kelly Nelis. But, the highlight of the competition will be the 800-yard freestyle relay during which the girls will have their sights on the meet record of 8 minutes, 14 seconds. This feat has become more likely as momentum is at a high among the girls. Petcoff anticipates the Belles will be more of a force than other teams might expect.”We will be a challenge for first place,” Petcoff said.