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Belles struggle in season opener

| Monday, November 1, 2004

For their first race of the season, the Belles were faced with a difficult challenge on Saturday, competing against the defending MIAA champions, Hope College, as well as the surprise standout school of the 2003 season, Olivet. Hope defeated Saint Mary’s by a score of 166-55, and Olivet knocked off the Belles with a final score of 158-61. Junior Sarah Nowak was the performer of the meet for Saint Mary’s, finishing first in the 200-yard breaststroke and second in the 200-yard individual medley. Junior Kelly Nelis was also very effective for the Belles, finishing fourth out of 10 in both the 100-yard freestyle and 200-yard freestyle. Sophomore transfer Nicole Korte, who comes to Saint Mary’s from Holy Cross College, is off to a good start with the Belles. She finished fourth in the 50-yard freestyle and fifth in the 100.The challenge for Saint Mary’s on Saturday came not only from the difficulty of its opponents, but the condition that the team was in going into the race. Belles coach Gregg Petcoff was quite pleased with his swimmers. The team did a lot of endurance and anaerobic workouts this week, and the overall condition of the team was a very fatigued one. “The best thing about it was that despite the fatigue they got up there and raced … that was one of the high points,” Petcoff said. He was happy with the times that his swimmers were able to put on the boards after having such a strenuous week of workouts.The Belles are excited to see how this season will play out, with so many new prospects on the roster. “It’s going to be interesting to see how the freshmen step into the roles,” Petcoff said. For the freshmen, this was their first real collegiate meet, racing in individual events. Petcoff was pleased with the way that they stepped into the roles that they needed to. Because of the vast amount of underclassmen, many of the upperclassmen will be forced to step into the “go to” positions. The combination a few experienced upperclassmen, as well as plenty of fresh faces on the team, should provide Saint Mary’s with a strong foundation to build on throughout the 2004-05 season.