SMC Swimming: Belles in 5th after first day of MIAA
By: KATIE McVOY
Associate Sports Editor
Despite feeling a little tired from taper workouts, the Belles are in the thick of things at the MIAA Tournament.
Heading into this weekend's competition, head coach Greg Petcoff was looking optimistically toward a third place finish. After the first leg of the three-day competition, the Belles are in fifth place, only four points behind fourth place team Alma. The Belles are a mere 18 points behind third place team Kalamazoo, a team the Belles beat in dual meet competition earlier this season.
"I think we're not so far behind, we haven't lost touch with Kalamazoo up there," Petcoff said. "Albion [in sixth place] behind us are probably saying the same thing. We haven't broken free of them, but obviously. Between the three of us it could come down to a real close third day battle, but Albion could throw in some great swims and make it a third day battle."
But the Belles could have a leg-up in third day competition. Saint Mary's has been a second half team; the Belles came from behind in that win against Kalamazoo. With that in mind, Saturday's events are Saint Mary's strongest and as long as they keep in close proximity to the third and fourth place teams, they have a solid chance of a top three finish.
"We've been very strong in second half events and I think what that might lend itself to is the possibility that the third day, with the 200 fly and the 200 breast, we could have our best day," Petcoff said. "I think each day there will be strong events and some maybe not so strong. But our third day could possibly be our best day."
Saint Mary's produced one top three finisher on Thursday in sophomore Megan Ramsey. Ramsey, a sophomore who is the Belles' best bet for a national qualifier, took home third place in the 500-yard freestyle with a time of 5 minitues 18.12 seconds. Defending champion Michelle Smith from Hope took home first. Although she and Petcoff were looking for a little better time, her third place finish met their goal.
"I think time wise we were hoping for a little it more but with the training she was a little bit tired and ultimately when we went into the evening she did what we wanted," Petcoff said. "When you swimming in the evening finals, you do swim for third place. She was seeded third and that's what she could do. The goal was third and she met it."
Saint Mary's two relay teams, the 200-yard freestyle relay and the 400-yard medley relay, both took home fourth place finishes. The 200-yard team finished in 1:41.81, just five seconds behind first place finisher Hope. The 400-yard team was 14 seconds behind the first place finishing team.
The Belles had two place finishers in the 50-yard freestyle event. Maureen Palchak finished in ninth place with a tmie of 0:25.78 and teammate Lane Herrington finished right on her heels with a time of 0:25.80.
"Some of those relay swimmers in the prelims had great swims. So I think some of those people we're hoping will be in the 5-12 are really primed and ready to come through," Petcoff said. "Our better days are ahead."
After the first six events, Hope has a controlling first place lead, with 198 team points. Calvin is in second with 159.
Today, the next 11 events of the tournament will take place, beginning with the preliminary for the 200-yard freestyle relay.
All Sports Stories for Friday, February 22, 2002