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SMC Swimming: Belles seek conference respect

Bobby Graham | Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Coming off of a tough year, the Belles are looking to prove that they belong with the top teams in the MIAA.

Under the leadership of second-year coach Alicia Dombkowski, the Belles are in search of a new look and feel as they begin their trek down the road to the MIAA Championships.

As is the case in college sports, nothing gives a team a more refreshing feel than the emergence of freshmen. This year’s squad features 11 freshmen out of a total of 21 swimmers and divers.

This year’s crop hail from as close as South Bend to as far away as California. These newcomers should also be able to be competitive in a wide array of events, from sprints to distance and from freestyle to backstroke.

The Belles have had only one MIAA meet this far, a 180-107 loss to Kalamazoo, but they should take relief in the fact that two freshmen were among the team’s contributors.

Ellie Watson, a distance swimmer from Grand Rapids, Mich., came in first place in the 500- and 1000-yard freestyle. Her teammate, Katie Griffin, a Bristol, Ind. native, finished atop the 100-yard backstroke and butterfly events.

The Belles (0-1) have not started the season off the way they would have liked, but if the freshmen continue to perform and grow at the rate they have, the MIAA may be in for a power transfer. Perennial powerhouses Calvin, Hope and Kalamazoo might need to look out for a Saint Mary’s that could be nipping at their heels all year long.