Mike Ahrens has some tough decisions to make in the next three weeks. 

His Bettendorf girls swimming and diving team has a plethora of depth and talent this season. Ahrens admits many of his swimmers who would have been guaranteed to participate at the state-qualifying meet in recent years might not crack the lineup this season.

“The fact of the matter, if they want a position, they’ve got to go get it,” Ahrens said. “It is a good problem to have.”

Fourth-ranked Bettendorf showcased its firepower Tuesday night, winning 11 of 12 events to dismantle eighth-ranked Pleasant Valley in a Mississippi Athletic Conference dual 118-68 at Bettendorf High School.

The only victory for PV came from Libby Staver in the 500 free. Bettendorf established three pool records and finished 1-2 in five events.

“The fact we can swim well at this point of the season is uplifting,” senior Emily VanDeWiele said. “It gives us some confidence going into our big meets.

“Out of all the seasons I’ve been here, it feels like we’re doing the best and approaching state better than ever.”

VanDeWiele broke her own pool record in the 200 freestyle, finishing in 1 minute, 55.00 seconds. Arianna Ottavianelli clipped Molly Coonce’s old pool mark in the 200 individual medley in 2:09.45.

Then in the 400 freestyle relay, VanDeWiele teamed with Sami Roemer, Hailee Grovo and Ottavanielli for a new pool record of 3:40.33.

“We’re in the grind of our season, so to get three pool records it just shows what kind of talent I’ve been given here,” Ahrens said. “We’re still plugging away. We’ve got to find the right combination on some relays yet, and we’re not being as consistent as I would like.”

Sprinter Megan Greenley was part of four victories. She won the 50 free (25.09) and 100 free (54.92) along with anchoring the 200 medley relay and competing on the 200 free relay.

Greenley said the energy at the meet, regardless of the result, makes for an exciting dual.

“When the adrenaline is there, it makes it more fun,” she said. “It is hard to get up there and go fast in a normal dual when there aren’t as many people. That is never a problem at this meet.”

Alexis Beine (100 butterfly), Roemer (100 backstroke) and Ottavianelli (100 breaststroke) also had individual victories for the Bulldogs along with diver Makayla Hughbanks. 

In many cases, the Bulldogs’ second relays and second and third individuals challenged the Spartans' top competitor.

"These are the type of meets you've got to take advantage of in the grind of a season," Ahrens said. "It is tough to motivate the kids in some of the other duals against teams which might have only a handful of swimmers. 

"We emphasize this meet, and it is a fun rivalry."

PV coach Frank DeMaria said his team is pretty beat up and fatigued.

"We had some good races, and we have some things we still need to work on," he noted. "We like this meet because it is a lot of great races, a good opportunity to get a hand on the wall and get up and race.

"I just want to see us have some good, gutsy swims in the next couple of weeks so we get faster and build off that going into late October and November."

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Sports Editor

Prep sports editor, with emphasis on covering the Mississippi Athletic Conference and Iowa area high schools. I've been in sports journalism for 17 years, the last five at the Quad-City Times.