Saint Mary's came close, but couldn't stop the bleeding. Its losing streak stretched to four meets when it fell to Kalamazoo 149-145 Friday night.
The Belles faced a Kalamazoo team that now has a 3-2 record in MIAA meets. The meet was close, and if several races had gone the other way, the Belles could have pulled it out.
Belles coach Ryan Dombkowski praised his team's effort, despite the loss.
"All in all, I was proud of how competitive we were against a team that was three spots ahead of us in our conference last year," Dombkowski said. "Our times show that we have been working hard and we have some really great things to look forward to in two weeks at our conference championship."
There were some solid efforts by many of the swimmers Friday. The 400-medley relay all-freshman team of Maggie Williams, Casey Niezer, Caroline Arness and Lauren Hartman beat the previous school record by three seconds. Dombkowski said he thinks the team could beat the time by 10 seconds in the conference championship.
The 400 freestyle relay team of junior Rachel Kalas, sophomore Lindsey Nelis, junior Melissa Gerbeth and Hartman beat the previous best time in the season by over three seconds as well. Their times were better than their time at the championship meet last year. They fell just short in the event, however, which propelled Kalamazoo to victory.
Dombkowski was also proud of his divers, who he said won "key points to help us keep the meet close."
"Freshman Erica Severson took up diving for a week and competed on both the one-meter and three-meter boards, showing some great courage and what it means to do whatever it takes to help the team," he said. "Freshman Meg Otten competed on the three-meter board for the first time as well."
Dombkowski said the times posted by the Belles this weekend bode well for the upcoming conference meet.
"Obviously, we would have liked to come out on the other end of the score, but it was still a great opportunity to be a part of some fantastic competition and a fun meet," Dombkowski said. "We swam great for a team broken down, looking forward to a few weeks of rest to get prepared for our conference championships in two weeks."