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SMC Swimming: Squad finishes fifth in MIAA

Cory Bernard | Friday, May 20, 2011

The 2010-11 season saw the Belles break new ground in multiple areas as the squad ended the year on a high note, giving hope for next season.

First year coach Mark Benishek led Saint Mary’s to a fifth-place finish in the MIAA, tying a program best. The Belles also placed two swimmers on the all-MIAA team for the first time.

Junior individual medley and breaststroke swimmer Audrey Dalrymple and sophomore distance swimmer Ellie Watson earned the postseason honors.

Benishek said his first year went better than he could have hoped.

“We had a great finish to the season and exceeded all expectations,” he said. “I believe we probably had one of the smallest rosters in quite a few years, and to have that kind of finish — you couldn’t ask for a better first season as a coach.”

Saint Mary’s loses only one senior, Jami Nelis, to graduation. Benishek said the return of a number of rising juniors in the fall after studying abroad, coupled with a new class of incoming freshmen, will help the team continue to improve next season.

“You’ve always got to continue pushing yourself,” he said. “With almost our entire team coming back, plus the addition of a few, we are pretty excited. We look forward to trying to challenge some of the teams that finished ahead of us in conference.”