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Lack of divers hurts Belles against Albion

Dan Tapetillo | Tuesday, November 18, 2003

Saint Mary’s faced a 29-point deficit before the Belles hit the water during their dual meet against Albion College last Saturday. The Belles needed to overcome the challenge of not having a diving team but came up short as they lost to Albion 128-106.

Despite the loss, Saint Mary’s still remained dominant in the swimming events as the Belles claimed first place in six of the nine events, including the 50-, 100-, 200- and 500-yard freestyle events, as well as the 100-yard backstroke and 100-yard butterfly.

But Albion took full advantage of every moment Saint Mary’s did not compete with its best times. After swimming a record-breaking 1 minute, 55.9-second time for the 200-yard medley two weekends ago, Saint Mary’s swam a time of 1:57.29. This two-second difference, however, still proved to be detrimental for Saint Mary’s as Albion finished four seconds better than their best time this season to edge out the Belles by only .8 seconds with a time of 1:56.45.

Saint Mary’s also unexpectedly did not do well in the 1650-yard freestyle, as Albion captured the top three times in the race.

“We were a little off, and Albion was able to take advantage,” Saint Mary’s coach Gregg Petcoff said.

But despite the team setbacks and a nagging shoulder injury, Saint Mary’s senior Maureen Palchak took a pair of events, winning both the 50-yard and 100-yard freestyle races. Senior Megan Ramsey also won two races, taking first place in the 100-yard butterfly and 200-yard freestyle. Other top races for the Belles included sophomore Kelly Nelis, who won the 500-yard freestyle, and freshman Caitlin Fitzpatrick, who won the 100-yard backstroke and took second in the 40-yard individual medley.

“They were ready for us,” Petcoff said. “[Albion] did not want to lose three years in a row.”

Saint Mary’s now faces the challenge of maintaining focus during an extended break as the Belles will not compete until the first weekend of December at the Gene Davis Invitational, where they will be competing against several Division III programs at Lawrence University in Wisconsin.

“We are going to be looking for season-best times across the board,” Petcoff said.