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SMC Swimming: Belles close out fall season

Peter Steiner | Monday, December 3, 2012


After three days of competition, the Belles finished 11th at the Calvin Winter Invitational in Grand Rapids, Mich.

The invitational was the second nonconference invitational and last event of the fall season for Saint Mary’s. 

“This was a great way to cap off the first half of the season for the girls,” Belles coach Mark Benishek said. “To go to a big meet like this and compete on a high level, I think is great motivation to go into the second half and starting training hard again for our conference championships.”

The invitational spanned three days with preliminary competitions each morning followed by finals in the evening. On Friday, the Belles received their best finish from senior Ellie Watson with her season-best 400 IM time of 4:54.81. Senior Liz Litke placed highest for Saint Mary’s on Saturday, finishing 21st in the 200 breaststroke.

“They’re preliminaries and finals that you swim each day and the top 24 qualify for the evening,” Benishek said. “We had girls swimming in the finals everyday. That was definitely great to see, and that’s what you’re shooting for.”

The Belles performed their best in the freestyle events over the weekend, with a 16th-place finish in the 200 freestyle relay and solid swims from each of their 50 freestyle swimmers.

“A bunch of our freestylers did quite well,” Benishek said. “[Sophomore] Anna Nolan, our sprinter, had some great time drops as well as [sophomore] Sarah Thompson. She had some great swims there on the end of the medley relay.”

Saint Mary’s also competed on the diving, boards with lone freshman diver Andrea Canacci finishing 23rd in the one-meter diving event.

 “It was kind of her first time diving as a freshman in an invite, especially against some of the top divers in the nation for Division III. I think was a great meet for her as well,” Benishek said. 

The Belles will have a one-month break before competing on Jan. 5 in the Citrus Classic in Mesa, Ariz.

Contact Peter Steiner at [email protected]