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SMC SWIMMING: Belles fall to Kalamazoo Hornets

Anna Fricano | Monday, January 24, 2005

Three Saint Mary’s swimmers were injured and unable to compete against Kalamazoo College on Saturday, giving the Belles an obstacle that they were unable to overcome in their competition against Kalamazoo College. The Hornets defeated the Belles by a score of 144-71. However, the Belles did not let the unfortunate circumstance of a deficit of swimmers deter the team from achieving some of their best performances of the season. Coach Gregg Petcoff was especially impressed with how his swimmers stood up to the challenge of facing a team with more than twice as many swimmers. “We knew we were going to be shorthanded, and it would have been easy to get mentally depressed, but every single person got up … it’s hard to single out a couple people [who did especially well],” Petcoff said. Several members of the team stepped up to fill in the gaps for their missing teammates. Sarah Nowak had an especially good day on Saturday, achieving her season’s best times in three events. Nowak placed first in two events, the 200-yard freestyle and the 200-yard breaststroke. Nowak swam the breaststroke in 2 minutes, 32 seconds, which is only two seconds off of the school record that she herself set last season. Nowak was pleased with the outcome of her events on Saturday, but didn’t feel any extra pressure from her teammates to perform well. “Each race I go out and try to do my best, and it turned out well…I think everyone swam very well, the individual swims made up for the score at the end,” Nowak said. In addition to Nowak, Kelly Nelis took first in two events, and Katie Dingeman had one first place finish.Seniors and co-captains Michelle Stanforth and Ashley Dyer were both honored in the annual Senior Night that the team celebrated before the meet on Friday. Nelis reflected on the positive impact that the two have had on the team throughout the season. “It was kind of bittersweet, they are definitely two great leaders that we’ve had all along,” Nelis said. Stanforth was pleased by the support that she and Dyer received from her teammates, as well as the outcome of the event. “It’s hard to believe that we made it through four years of collegiate swimming, it was emotional, but in a positive way,” said Stanforth. As the season draws to a close, the Belles will have the opportunity to move ahead in the conference standings for the first time. After their first conference win in two years, which occurred two weeks ago against Alma College, the team seems poised to move up from seventh place into sixth or possibly fifth in the conference. “Based on the results of the season, I absolutely think that we’re going to be looking at moving up from seventh place,” Petcoff said. The Belles will be able to gauge their chances a little better on Saturday when they compete against conference opponents Albion and Calvin College.