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Wednesday, May 29, 2024
The Observer

SMC Swimming and Diving: Saint Mary's finishes sixth in invitational at Wabash

In their first non-conference event of the season, the Belles finished sixth in the Woehnker Invitational, a two-day event hosted by Wabash College.

While the Belles placed behind the five other schools, Belles coach Mark Benishek said it was important for his team to swim competitively after three weeks of training.

"We had a lot of hard training leading up to this meet," Benishek said. "I think for some of them it was just a reaffirmation of getting out there and racing again, especially on Saturday where it's an all day meet. That takes a lot out of any swimmer. Overall, I think we had a good meet."

Belles seniors Ellie Watson and Genevieve Spittler led the team on Saturday with eighth-place finishes in the 500-yard freestyle and 200-yard butterfly, respectively. Freshman Megan Knobloch also stood out with strong swims in three different events, Benishek said.

"Megan Knobloch had some great swims, especially for a first year athlete, in the 50[-yard] free, 100[-yard] free and the 100[-yard] backstroke," Benishek said. "I think she had a really solid meet. That's great to see out of any first year athlete."

While Knobloch performed well in the freestyle events, senior Liz Litke had a strong showing in the various breaststroke events. The senior captain finished 14th and 18th in the 200-yard and 100[-yard] breaststroke events, respectively.

"Liz Litke, one of my seniors and captains, had hands down a tremendous meet," Benishek said. "I think this exactly what she needed at this point in the season. She's battling back from a tough season last year. She had to sit out most of the season due to a back injury so this is just great for her to see those times drop at this point in the season."

The Belles finished the two-day invitational with 130 points, trailing the next-closest opponent Valparaiso by roughly 170 points. Carthage won the Woehnker Invitational with 730.5 points.

With much of their season remaining, the Belles recognize their need to work on details, Benishek said.

"I think the small things we need to worry about," Benishek said. "Our conditioning is there, but when it comes down to it those small things can really affect a race, whether it's turns, streamlines coming off the wall. We need to hone in on those little tiny details and fine-tune them and I think the girls will see better results."

Saint Mary's will next head to the Calvin Winter Invite in Grand Rapids, Mich., on Nov. 29.


Contact Peter Steiner at