The Bettendorf girls swim team has not quite peaked this season as the Bulldogs are gearing up for a run at a trophy at next weekend’s state meet.
But the Bulldogs had more than enough depth and quality performances to capture their second-straight regional championship on Saturday afternoon at Davenport Central’s sleek new natatorium.
Bettendorf qualified for state in 11 of the 12 events and won the regional title with 520 points. Pleasant Valley was second with 490.5 points but did the Bulldogs one better by qualifying in every event. Bettendorf will not send an athlete in the 100-yard butterfly.
First-place winners in all the state regionals along with the next 18 best times qualify for the state meet in Marshalltown.
Muscatine (246), Davenport Central (226) and Davenport West (142) rounded out the top five. The Falcons will send senior Courtney Schaeffer in the 50 and 100 freestyle while the Blue Devils will be represented by sophomore Abbey Klostermann, who qualified for state in the 100 breaststroke. Davenport Central’s 200 medley relay team of Liz Weber, Allison Fellner, Alexis Cummins and Klostermann also qualified for state, taking third in 1:54.35.
Bulldogs coach Mike Ahrens said his team swam well and did what they needed to do while still getting ready to utilize energy for a final push at state.
“My top group are not rested or shaved yet so we’ll put them in fast suits next week,” Ahrens said. “My girls were still lifting (weights) this week so we’ll get them rested and you will see a lot of speed next week.”
Bettendorf sophomore Arianna Ottavianelli picked up the individual wins for the Bulldogs, taking the 100 breaststroke in 1 minute, 3.69 seconds and winning the 200 individual medley (2:07.53). She also led off the winning 200 freestyle relay team (1:37.72) and captured gold with teammates Alex Larson, Lauren Roemer and Emily Van De Wiele.
Ottavianelli gave credit to the two Bettendorf seniors who swam in the regional meet — Sammie Galvin and Eve Berg — for leadership this season. Berg and Galvin both qualified for state in the 200 and 500 freestyle.
“They push us, and they push each other, swimming in the same events,” Ottavianelli said of the duo. “They swam really well, and it gave us energy.”
Ottavianelli even gave props to the effort PV gave at the event as several Spartans placed higher than their seed times and recorded personal bests.
“Pleasant Valley was really on (Saturday),” she said. “They were great. The competition was a lot of fun.”
Van De Wiele (100 and 200 freestyle), Alexis Beine (200 IM and 100 breaststroke), Lauren Tumey (200 IM and 100 breaststroke), Megan Greenley (50 and 100 freestyle) and Roemer (100 backstroke and 100 freestyle) were the other double state qualifiers for the Bulldogs. Bettendorf also made it in the 200 medley and 400 freestyle relays. Diver Sydney Hanson had already qualified on Thursday for Bettendorf by winning the regional title.
Aviana Zahara and Libby Staver led the Spartans’ effort as the duo each won two events. Zahara claimed the 50 freestyle (24.30) and backstroke (56.52). Staver took first in the 500 freestyle (5:02.30) and 200 freestyle (1:52.63). Perapa Chotiprasidhi had the other individual win for PV, taking the 100 butterfly (59.12). Chotiprasidhi also qualified in the backstroke.
Zahara said she was particularly pleased with her backstroke time.
“I had a couple of emotional moments, I got my first junior national cut ever (in the backstroke), which I have been shooting for, for about three years,” she said. “It was a big moment for me, but I was also really happy with how everyone else did.”
Staver, who did not compete in the second half of last season, said it was nice to be competing again with her teammates to go to state. She said she could feel the energy of the team on Saturday morning while the team was warming up, which she said led to the outstanding performances.
“You could tell it was going to be a good meet after that,” Staver said of the pre-meet workout. “It feels good to be a part of the team and making good memories.”
Joining Staver and Zahara at state will be diver Trinity Shi, Christy Bishop (200 IM and 100 breaststroke), Jordan Neymeyer (200 IM and 100 breaststroke), Lauren Groenenboom (50 and 100 freestyle), Emily Goodman (500 freestyle and 100 breaststroke) and Danielle Nauman (100 backstroke). The Spartans also won the 200 medley and 400 freestyle relays.