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Belles seek the MIAA title

Dan Tapetillo | Thursday, February 19, 2004

At the end of their season, the Belles find themselves in a catch-22. As Saint Mary’s heads into the MIAA Championships this weekend, the team must try to achieve a balance between training and rest. Finding this equilibrium could not only redeem the team’s 0-6 MIAA conference record. It could also establish Saint Mary’s as a threat at the championships. Furthermore, success at the MIAA Championships would erase the memory of a year that has been eclipsed by the loss of a top swimmer and several injuries.Frequent intense training hindered Saint Mary’s success against conference rival Alma College this season, said Saint Mary’s swimming coach Greg Petcoff. “What happened at this meet was that we worked hard the week before and we knew that we would be swimming tired,” Petcoff said. “We are now bringing the volume down and giving the girls more of a rest.”Saint Mary’s has been utilizing several methods to ensure that the team’s confidence will peak during their final week of the season. Petcoff has made several adjustments to practice during the past two weeks, customizing each swimmer’s workout schedule in order to boost confidence and trim times. “The biggest difference is that we try to individualize things a lot more,” Petcoff said. The team is also carrying on its tradition of pairing swimmers as “psych partners, which gives each swimmer a person to depend upon in the weeks leading up to the conference meet and bolsters the entire team’s confidence.The coaches have also kept an eye on each individual’s physical and mental well-being as tension before the meet increases.”It is not so much the competition we have to worry about,” Petcoff said. “It is having to watch the girls put so much pressure on themselves.”In addition, the swimmers have to concentrate on individual races instead of worrying over the entire meet. The Belles view each competition as an occasion for individuals to do their best for the team. The team hopes for a strong start from the get-go, beginning with the preliminaries.Petcoff expects standout performances from senior Megan Ramsey and sophomore Sarah Nowak. Ramsey is competing for a berth to the NCAA Championships in the 100-yard freestyle after missing the cut by 1.07 seconds last season. Nowak will compete in her first MIAA championship meet after joining the squad midway through the season. Petcoff expects the rest of the team to feed off of Ramsey and Nowak’s success. “You have to take care of your business individually, and that is what helps the team,” Petcoff said. “Having the best times breeds confidence. This will have a snowball effect on how well the team does.”