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Petcoff looks to veterans to improve team’s times

Dan Tapetillo | Friday, January 16, 2004

Despite facing adversity earlier this season, it is the veterans that have continued to make Saint Mary’s a threat to other teams.

Saint Mary’s will be challenged today by conference rivals Kalamazoo (1-1) and Olivet (1-3) in a three-way meet that will be scored separately and give Saint Mary’s the chance to come away with two wins.

Earlier this season Saint Mary’s had to overcome obstacles such as the lack of divers and the loss of a top swimmer who took a leave of absence from college.

But as the season is nearing a close and Saint Mary’s begins preparations for the MIAA Swimming Championships in Grand Rapids, Mich., Saint Mary’s coach Gregg Petcoff is anticipating season best times from his veterans.

“Kelly Nelis, Megan Ramsey and Marueen Palchak will all be looked upon when it comes to top times,” Petcoff said.

All three swimmers posted impressive times last weekend against conference rival Calvin College (3-1) who is currently third in the MIAA standings. Nelis finished first in the 500-yard freestyle and second in the 200-yard freestyle, Ramsey placed second in the 200-yard butterfly and Palchak finished first in the 100-yard freestyle and second in the 50-yard freestyle.

In addition to these veterans, Saint Mary’s has also welcomed newcomer Sarah Nowak who finished second in the 200-yard individual medley and returning swimmer Katie Dingeman.

Despite the team’s loss to Calvin last weekend, the Belles are expecting faster times from the majority of their swimmers.

After recovering from a week of double workouts, fatigue is not expected to impact the Belles’ performance.

“Historically the team has always swam better times than the weekend after winter break,” Petcoff said. “[The team] feels a little more rested when they come back to their regular swim schedule.”

However, Saint Mary’s is not taking its challengers lightly.

“[Kalamazoo] always swims well against us and this year they had an unbelievable recruiting class,” Petcoff said. “[Kalamazoo] is knocking on the door of conference leaders Calvin and Hope.”

Keeping the other teams’ strengths in mind, Saint Mary’s will be bringing its competitive spirits to the meet.

“We’ll have a number of season best times,” Petcoff said.