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SMC Swimming: Belles prepare for conference competition

Peter Steiner | Thursday, October 25, 2012

The Belles will enter their official MIAA schedule with two scoring events this weekend, competing in the Albion dual meet on Friday, followed by a double dual meet with Hope and Alma on Saturday.

After swimming in the MIAA Relays – a non-scoring, warmup event – last Friday, the Belles are excited to compete in their first conference meets, Belles coach Mark Benishek said.

“We’ve been training hard this week and we are looking forward to the end of this week,” Benishek said. “We are going to back off a little bit on our training as we head into the back half of this week because we have back-to-back meets with a Friday meet and a double dual meet Saturday as well.

“We should be pretty competitive on Friday with Albion. Across the board, we should see some strong swims.”

In addition to kicking off the fall season, the MIAA Relays provided the Belles a chance to evaluate the makeup of their relay teams. The relay lineup will have a different look when Saint Mary’s competes this weekend, Benishek said.

“I’m really curious about what our relays can pull out this weekend,” Benishek said. “We kind of retooled them all after last weekend. It’s a whole new lineup and different swimmers with each other so I think we should see some fast swims.”

Of all the swimmers competing this weekend, Benishek is particularly interested in the newest members of the Belles squad. Seven freshmen make up Saint Mary’s 14-person roster, which does not include a junior swimmer.

“I’m really curious to see how our entire freshmen class does,” Benishek said. “I’m looking forward to seeing them in action and seeing how they respond to their first dual meet.

“I think there are some nerves and I think we may see a little bit of that, but we’ve been trying to prepare them for this first meet. So I think they’ll be able to keep those in check and swim strong.”

Saint Mary’s is also eager to see how its first diver in three years performs in the one and three meter diving events. Freshman diver Andrea Canacci will finally help the team receive points in the diving categories.

“We haven’t had a diver in the last three years for the school so it’s great to have somebody on the boards,” Benishek said. “We’ve been missing out on points in the one meter and three meter events so this year we’ll someone there. She did a great job last weekend as her introduction to diving [at the collegiate level] so I think she’s excited about this weekend and being able to get out there and compete.”

The Belles will travel to Albion, Mich., on Friday to swim in their first conference dual meet with Albion, before heading to Holland, Mich., on Saturday to swim in a double dual meet with Hope and Alma.

Contact Peter Steiner at psteiner@nd.edu