Pleasant Valley’s girls swimming and diving program has had a stranglehold on the Mississippi Athletic Conference for the past five seasons.
Bettendorf ended PV’s run of conference dual dominance in an emphatic way Tuesday night.
The second-ranked Bulldogs claimed victories in 10 of 12 events and stormed past the third-ranked Spartans 122-64 in an electric atmosphere at the Bettendorf High School pool.
“There was a big point to prove because we haven’t beaten them in so long,” said senior Megan Schade, who was part of two relay victories and captured the 100 butterfly.
Emily Van De Wiele accounted for a maximum four wins and was involved in two pool records as Bettendorf collected its first dual win against PV since 2010.
She teamed with Sage Ohlensehlen, Schade and Hena Hassan for a triumph in the 200 medley relay in 1 minute, 49.17 seconds (a pool record).
Less than 5 minutes later, Van De Wiele was back in the water and broke state champion and Hall of Famer Megan Lonergan’s 2004 pool record in the 200 freestyle in 1:56.45.
“I was a little tired after the first relay, but I wanted to win,” Van De Wiele said. “(Libby Staver) and I were about even the whole race. The last 50, I’m like, ‘I’m just going to win.’ I just let it go.”
Bettendorf coach Mike Ahrens kept a running tally of the dual score, but the Bulldogs virtually had it wrapped up after about seven events.
Other than Claire Park’s pool record score of 297.45 in the diving competition and Staver’s triumph in the 500 free, Bettendorf didn’t lose an event.
Besides the 10 wins, the Bulldogs matched the Spartans with a half-dozen runner-up finishes.
“I knew we were itching to get up and race,” Ahrens said. “The girls are competitors and we talked about losing to them five straight years. Hopefully, that was embedded in their heads.
“Plus, it was senior night and we always swim great on our senior night. I knew we’d be ready to go and it showed tonight.”
The Bulldogs capped it in grand fashion, finishing 1-2-3 in the 400 freestyle relay. Van De Wiele, Schade, Arianna Ottavianelli and Megan Greenley finished in 3:42.04.
Van De Wiele had a 100 backstroke win as well. Ottavianelli (200 individual medley), Hassan (50 free), Schade (100 butterfly), Greenley (100 free) and Ohlensehlen (100 breaststroke) also recorded individual wins.
“This gives us a lot of confidence,” Van De Wiele said. “Before the meet, coach said there was going to be a lot of close races and we need to pull through. I think beating them by this much, it really gives us confidence to go up against (top-ranked) Ames.”
Ahrens admitted the margin was surprising, but also stressed his team can’t let this be the defining moment of its season. Bettendorf will see PV again at the state-qualifying meet at the end of October and the state meet in early November.
“We’re going to celebrate this tonight, but it is back to work tomorrow,” he said. “We’ve got a lot of work to do if we want to be top three at the end of the year. These swims tonight won’t get us top three at state.”
Still, the excitement Bettendorf displayed afterward proved it wasn’t just another dual victory.
“This is just the beginning of a great season,” Schade said. “We really looked forward to this one.”
PV first-year coach David Kissack gave all the credit to his opponent.
“They swam great and we swam well,” he said. “We’re going to go back and work harder. We still got time, and hopefully this makes the girls a little hungrier the next time we see them.
“As a coach, you want the girls to see this kind of competition and show them what they really got. While it is hard to lose, it also is an opportunity to regroup, fix some things and refocus.”