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SMC Swimming and Diving: Belles suffer pair of losses despite good performances

Mike Monaco | Sunday, January 22, 2012

The Belles came away empty-handed from Grand Rapids, Mich., where they swam in a dual meet against Alma College and Calvin College.

Saint Mary’s lost to Calvin by a score of 121-84, and lost to Alma 129-107.

Despite the tallies in the loss column, Belles coach Mark Benishek said he was satisfied with some solid individual performances from his swimmers.

“We had some great times across the board from the entire team,” Benishek said. “There were a lot of time drops and some big swims.”

Senior Audrey Dalrymple had some of those big swims, as she continued her strong swimming by earning two first-place finishes. Dalrymple won the 200-yard individual medley in 2:15.97 and the 100-yard breaststroke in 1:10.43. In both events, Dalrymple shaved seconds off her time from Tuesday’s meet against Olivet College.

Benishek commended Dalrymple’s individual efforts, noting her natural talent and leadership.

“She’s definitely one of the stronger pillars on the team,” Benishek said. “When it comes down to holding some of the top times, she’s very steady. She has lots of natural talent and leadership skills as well. For the individual medley, she’s talented in that she has mastered all four strokes.”

Senior Megan Price, who turned in a pair of second place finishes, also led the Belles. Price finished the 1,000-yard freestyle in 11:07.41, an improvement of over 20 seconds. Price’s other second place performance came in the 500 free, which she finished in 5:27.36.

Between Dalrymple and Price, along with fellow senior Katie Donovan, the Belles have a reliable core of upperclassmen leaders. Donovan recorded a third place finish in the 200-yard freestyle and a fifth place finish in the 100-yard backstroke. Together, the trio of Donovan, Dalrymple and Price forms the backbone of the team, Benishek said.

“[Dalrymple and Price] are definitely two of the leaders of the team and Katie Donovan is as well,” Benishek said. “For all three of the seniors, they definitely show a lot of leadership in the pool and out of the pool as well and set a great example for the rest of the team.”

Benishek said he was also impressed with junior Kristyn Gerbeth’s performance, as she finished second for the Belles in the 100-yard butterfly with a time of 1:03.71.

“[Gerbeth] did great in the butterfly,” Benishek said. “She hasn’t gone that fast since maybe the first or second week of the season. It’s great to see some of those times come down after the training trip we went on a few weeks ago.”

The Belles traveled to Arizona over winter break for a training trip, and are reaping the benefits of their hard work, Benishek said.

“We’ve really put ourselves in a great position,” Benishek said. “On the training trip, we truly had a great trip strength-wise. We had double practices or sometimes even triple practices [in a day]. We’ve seen a lot of gains in the swimmers and their bodies are gaining more strength from that training. That’s how we build towards the end of the season.”

Just one meet remains before Saint Mary’s heads to Holland, Mich., for the MIAA Championships, which begin Feb. 15. The Belles, who face Albion College on Feb. 4 in the last home meet of the season, are hoping to finish the season with a strong effort.

“We’re looking for our swimmers to swim up to their potential,” Benishek said. “This is our first time seeing Albion and we always want to finish on a high note. Hopefully we can finish with a win, especially with it being Senior Night.”

The Belles are back in the water Feb. 4 to close out the regular season against Albion College at the Rolfs Aquatic Center.


Contact Mike Monaco at [email protected]