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SMC Swimming & Diving: Belles look to bounce back at invitational

Joe Wirth | Wednesday, November 30, 2011

After Saint Mary’s lost 137-66 at Valparaiso on Nov. 5, Belles coach Mark Benishek said the team would focus on peaking for the Nov. 18 and 19 Wabash Woehnker Invitational and this week’s Calvin Invitational. Despite the Belles’ disappointing sixth-place finish at Wabash, they still have an opportunity to bounce back with a strong performance at Calvin.

“It’s the middle of the season and it is a good opportunity for us to gauge where we are as far as speed and conditioning,” Benishek said.

The Belles have had strong swims from their upperclassmen all year, and Benishek said that trend must continue if they are going to have a successful meet.

“Our senior leadership has been a strong point all year. [Seniors] Katie Donovan, Megan Price and Audrey Dalrymple have all had strong performances,” Benishek said. “Their senior leadership has been great and they have backed it up with strong swims. We know we can always count on them for motivation.”

Benishek said this meet will help the Belles prepare for the MIAA conference championship held Feb. 15 to 18.

“There will be plenty of talent at Calvin,” Benishek said. “This meet is the same format as the conference championship and it will give us a good idea of how to prepare.”

A good showing could also serve as a springboard for a successful second half of the season. 

“This meet is the biggest competition all season,” Benishek said. “It has three-quarters of our conference and has a number of fast Division II schools that we will be competing against.”

The Calvin Invitational will begin today and continue all day Friday and Saturday. The competition will take place at the Venema Aquatic Center on the campus of Calvin College in Grand Rapids, Mich.

Contact Joe Wirth at [email protected]