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SMC Swimming and Diving: Belles set to begin MIAA play

Vicky Jacobsen | Friday, October 28, 2011

The Belles will kick off their regular season with a Friday night dual meet against Kalamazoo.

Belles coach Mark Benishek said Saint Mary’s is expecting a strong performance from the Hornets, who finished last season with a third-place finish at the MIAA championships after compiling a 4-2 conference record during the regular season. The Kalamazoo women also sent four swimmers to the NCAA Division III Swimming Championships.

“I think they’re strong across the board,” Benishek said. “They’re one of the top teams in our conference. We know they have some great breaststrokers on their team, and I know that they have some pretty good freestylers as well, especially sprinters.”

While the schedule lists Kalamazoo as the Belles’ opponent on Friday, Benishek said that the squad is also focused on beating the mental mistakes that plague many teams early in the season. 

“I think, especially with it being the first meet of the season, we’ll be trying to limit some of the small mistakes for our team [and] just swimming smart,” Benishek said. “It’s been about a month’s worth of training that we’ve had so far, so we work a lot on technique and things of that nature at the beginning of the season to set the right foot forward.”

Benishek expects tight races between Hornets sophomore Molly DeWald and Saint Mary’s senior captain Audrey Dalrymple in the breaststroke events.

“They have a really great breaststroker [in DeWald]. She usually challenges our breaststroker, Audrey Dalrymple, and there’s a really good competition between the two,” Benishek said. “Last year they were only a second apart, and both were just off the NCAA qualifying time in the first meet of the season.”

The Belles will jump out of the blocks at 7 p.m. on Friday at the Rolfs Aquatics Center.

Contact Vicky Jacobsen at [email protected]