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SMC Swimming: Saint Mary’s closes out season with MIAAs

Joe Meixell | Thursday, February 8, 2007

With only one meet remaining, the Belles feel they can finish their season on a high note beginning today at the MIAA championships in Grand Rapids, Mich.

Saint Mary’s finished the regular season 2-7, but the team remains optimistic about its ability to succeed in several events this weekend. The Belles are focused on performing well not only in individual events, but in the relays as well.

“Personally, I will concentrate on having a strong 200 [yard] back and 500 [yard] free so hopefully I can advance to the finals,” freshman Sara Niemann said. “However, I think relays are going to be the key part to our team’s success.”

Sophomore Melissa Gerbeth is also confident in her team’s ability to perform well at the conference championships.

“We have a chance to score more points at the meet than we have in a few years, so every placing in the top-12 will be important as far as scoring points is concerned,” she said. “It is going to be important for every swimmer to give their maximum effort in order to place well.”

Because the MIAA championship is a three-day meet, the Belles will need to conserve their energy and remain focused for the duration. One way Saint Mary’s has tried to stay fresh for this weekend has been a lighter practice schedule this week.

“This last week we started tapering, which gave us rest and allowed our muscles to relax,” freshman Lindsey Nelis said. “Tapering is very important in order to allow your body to heal as well as gave us a chance to visualize and think about our races.”

Even though the Belles have rested for a week, they are confident that once the racing begins they will be able to perform well.

“Once we get in the atmosphere of the championship meet everyone’s mental state will be a lot different and we will be ready to compete at our best level,” Gerbeth said. “Coach Ryan [Dombkowski] and Alicia [Dombkowski] as well as all the team will be strong factors in pumping everyone up and giving them the confidence to swim at their best.”

Saint Mary’s is looking to use its months of training and are regarding the championships as an excellent opportunity to build a continued confidence.

“[The MIAAs] will help build energy into next year so we can continue to become more competitive within our conference,” Niemann said.