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SMC Swimming: Belles swim to fifth in MIAA Championships

Pete Reisenauer | Monday, February 18, 2008

Saint Mary’s ended its season with a disappointing fifth-place finish in the MIAA Championships this weekend in Holland, Mich.

Calvin won the meet with a score of 660. Hope was the only close challenger at 556. Saint Mary’s finished with a score of 182.

Going into the weekend, the Belles had high hopes after posting top times in many events during the season. They felt that they were primed to make a push toward the top of the pack.

The Belles had finished the year with a four-meet losing streak but believed that the two weeks between their last meet and the championship would provide them vital time to rest and prepare for the event this weekend. They were not able to put in a strong enough effort to capture the crown.

Despite the loss, Melissa Gerbeth defended her 1,650-yard freestyle crown with a time of 17:47.50, beating her closest competitor by more than 10 seconds. She also reached the final in the 500 freestyle – where she eventually finished sixth – and the 400 freestyle, where she finished fourth.

Maggie Williams also helped her team with a fifth-place finish in the 100 backstroke. She also finished 10th in the 200 backstroke.

Meanwhile, freshman Caroline Arness had her best showing in the 200 backstroke with a time of 2:18.62, and fellow freshman Casey Niezer clocked in at 2:13.77 for a sixth place finish. Niezer also finished in 11th in the 100 backstroke.

Sophomore Lindsey Nelis put up a strong showing in the 1,650 freestyle with a time of 18:38.40.

The strongest relay for the Belles was the 400 freestyle team, which finished third, only one-tenth of a second behind Kalamazoo for second.