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SMC Swimming: Belles ready to relax after high-paced relay

Cory Bernard | Thursday, October 14, 2010

Fresh off their first meet of the season last week at Notre Dame’s Dennis Stark Relays, the Belles can now look forward to a more relaxed event. Unlike the three Division I teams faced last weekend, the MIAA Relays contain only fellow league participants.

Sophomore Liz Palmer said the upcoming meet will be more enjoyable than the Belles’ foray into top-flight competition.

“It’s really fun,” Palmer said of the MIAA Relays. “We get to see how the other schools are; there’s no pressure. We’ll just see how we do.”

The relaxed atmosphere of this warm-up to regular season action differs greatly from what Palmer said seemed like a daunting task last week.

“Going into it we were apprehensive,” she said. “Half the team was really worried and half the team was confident, but we didn’t do as bad as we thought.”

The results of the Belles efforts against higher competition will encourage Saint Mary’s as they move through the season, Palmer said.

“It was fun to see the great competition,” Palmer said. “It ended up being a really good confidence booster for us for the meet on Saturday.”

In Saturday’s meet, the Belles will carry not only improved confidence but also improved team chemistry and physical conditioning. Palmer said new coach Mark Benishek has been instrumental in building team unity and to already getting the squad into mid-season form.

“We were worried about the transition,” Palmer said of bringing Benishek in. “He has been great, very motivational. He is really focused on the team and team building activities. Also, we’re in really good shape. We are where we were physically at the end of last year.”

The Belles will travel to Calvin at the end of Fall Break to take part in the MIAA Relays on Oct. 23.