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SMC Swimming: Belles say goodbye to seniors after last meet

Becki Dorner and Deirdre Krasula | Monday, February 13, 2006

It was a bittersweet season-ending meet for the Belles this weekend at the MIAA Championships.

Several Belles recorded career- and season-best times, but it was with sadness that the younger Belles said goodbye to seniors Katie Dingeman, Kelly Nelis and Stephanie Hile.

The Belles came in last place competing against Calvin College, Hope College, Kalamazoo College, Olivet College, Albion College and Alma College. Calvin came away with the win led by their star swimmers Becky Weima and Abby Johnson.

For the Belles, Nelis finished with a season-best time of 5:28.87 in the 500-meter freestyle. Karla McGough also had a season best with 5:49.98 in the event, and Kelly Tighe recorded a 26.02 in the 50-meter freestyle.

Dingeman had recorded a time of 1:08.13 in the 100-meter butterfly, and the team of Noreen Sherred, Tighe, Dingeman, and Nelis recorded a season best time of 4:29.5 in the 400-meter medley relay.

Dingeman said the Belles knew they had a tough task in front of them because the team is the only one in the league not to have divers, but their team pride carried the swimmers to some of their best performances

“Swimming for Saint Mary’s these past four years has been a true blessing,” she said. “I have had a chance to compete in a sport I love deeply and have made friends and memories that will last a lifetime. It has been an honor to represent SMC as a captain this year.”

The Belles look forward to next year and hope that juniors Karla McGough, Sarah Budd and Mary Stancukas, all of whom specialize in the freestyle, will be able to step up to the plate and assume the leadership role for the Belles just as effectively as captains Dingeman and Nelis did this year.