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SMC SWIMMING: Gerbeth leads Belles to sixth place at DePauw Invitational

Bill Brink | Monday, December 4, 2006

Sophomore Melissa Gerbeth scored 48 of Saint Mary’s 258 points en route to a sixth-place finish at the DePauw Invitational Friday and Saturday. Gerbeth won the 1,650-yard freestyle outright with a time of 11:04. She finished second in the 500 free in 5:22.69 and 8th in the 200 free, finishing in 2:05.70.Aside from winning the team points, Gerbeth’s victory brought additional benefits to the program.”It helped in terms of recruiting and team morale,” Belles head coach Ryan Dombkowski said. “There were a couple recruits at this meet, and it’s great for them to see Saint Mary’s swimmers winning events and moving in the right direction. They see that it’s possible to come to Saint Mary’s and be a great student and a successful athlete.”Saint Mary’s had eight swimmers score points in the meet. Junior Kelly Tighe finished 11th in the 50 free with a time of 26.52 seconds and 15th in the 100 breaststroke, finishing in 1:18.14. “Tighe had a great meet. She moved down half a second in the 50 free,” Dombkowski said. “It was an encouraging move. She was stuck in the low 27s the entire year, and moving up was exciting.”Freshman Kayla Ferguson finished 12th in the 100 backstroke in 1:08.24. Freshman Lindsey Nelis finished 11th in the 200 freestyle in 2:05.10, and 11th again in the 500 free with a time of 5:34.51. She also swam the 100 free, finishing in 1:02.59 and placing 16th.Freshman Sara Niemann swam the 200 backstroke in 2:21.55 and finished in 5th place. She finished 12th in the 200 free with a time of 2:05.47 and 14th in the 500 free in 5:40.87.Some relative unknowns also performed well. Freshman Katie Carroll placed 10th in the 200 backstroke with a time of 2:44.59. Sophomore Shannon Hansen finished 16th in the 200 individual medley with a time of 2:33.57. Freshman Jennifer Lebiedz swam the 200 butterfly in 2:35.67, good for 14th place.The relay teams also performed well, combining to score 128 points.”Both our A and B relay teams swam well at the end of the meet,” Dombkowski said. “They showed a lot of heart and determination at the end of two long days.”The days were long indeed. The team left at 5 a.m. Friday and drove four hours to the meet, arriving in time for morning warm-ups. It was the first time the freshmen had swam a same-day prelim-final meet.”It was rough,” Dombkowski said. “The prelims were swum in the morning and the finals in the evening. It was an energetically taxing day on the entire team.”Several other Belles, although not part of the scoring, posted new season bests. Tighe, Niemann, Carroll, Hanson, sophomore Jennifer Nicol, sophomore Leah Bocinksy and senior Sarah Budd all lowered their best times on the season.