The Belles are coming off a fifth-place showing at the Phoenix Invitational hosted by the University of Chicago earlier this month, and will now round out the Fall semester portion of their schedule at the Calvin Invitational this weekend.
"We are looking for strong swims out of everybody at the Calvin Invitational," head coach Mark Benishek said. "I am looking for everyone to give 100 percent effort in the pool, even whether they get their best time or just off their best time."
The Phoenix Invitational featured the host No. 15 University of Chicago, which won the Invitational easily with 1252 points, with the next closest team having 464. The Belles finished with 296.
Saint Mary's did have some strong finishes on the weekend with sophomore Katie Griffin finishing third in the 100-yard backstroke. Griffin also finished seventh in the 100-yard butterfly for the Invitational.
"Overall it was a pretty good meet," Benishek said. "We weren't competing for a month or so, so to come out with those performances was a step in the right direction. We saw some great times, and some of the girls had beat their best times in practice so we're continuing to improve."
Sophomore Audrey Dalrymple also had an impressive swim for the Belles at the Phoenix Invitational, finishing seventh in the 200-yard backstroke, and eighth in the 400-yard individual medley.
Dalrymple noted that there are only 14 girls on the team this year and said she found the small roster to be a mixed blessing.
"We only have 14 girls on the team this year. It's unfortunate because we have a lot of talent but just do not have the numbers to beat some of the teams in our conference," she said. "The size of our team is also a blessing because we are extremely close and help motivate each other to focus on our individual goals for the season."
Saint Mary's will get a chance to face some of its MIAA competition this weekend at the Calvin Invitational before heading to Florida for their winter break trip.
The teams that will be there include Grand Valley State, Calvin, Hillsdale, Valparaiso University, Kalamazoo, Northern Michigan, Olivet, Alma, and Saint Mary's.
Benishek said the Belles got some good workouts in over the Thanksgiving break that will help them prepare for the Calvin Invitational.
"They were in the water during break," Benishek said. "The extra time will be good for some of them, but the rest will also serve them well. We will have some chances at this invitational for improvement before heading to Florida."
Saint Mary's will participate in the Calvin Invitational starting today before heading to Florida Jan. 7-14.