Swimming in a state-ranked dual meet against rival Pleasant Valley, Bettendorf High School freshman Kiefer Roemer came through with a breakout swim in a tight contest on Thursday night.
Roemer clocked a 1:02.82 to win the 100-yard breaststroke by seven hundredths of a second and edge three PV swimmers on his tail.
The swim helped the third-ranked Bulldogs close out an 89-81 home win over the sixth-ranked Spartans to stay undefeated.
Bettendorf coach Mike Ahrens said PV’s three swimmers had the edge on paper in the breaststroke with season-best times ahead of Roemer’s.
The freshman delivered when he needed to ahead of the final relay.
“I told Kiefer, you beat one of the three, I think we can win the meet,” Ahrens said. “He goes out and beats all three.”
The swim gave Bettendorf a 79-77 lead entering the final event. A lesser swim could have put the Bulldogs in a much tougher position.
“Obviously the biggest meet of the year for him, and a coming-out party,” Ahrens said.
Roemer comes from a family of swimmers. His dad, Tom, was a former Bulldog state champion and 12-time NCAA All-American and 10-time Big Ten champion swimmer at the University of Iowa from 1980-82. He was inducted into the Iowa Athletics Hall of Fame in 2015.
The freshman Roemer said he hit his goal time in the key breaststroke win.
“I always set a goal right before I swim,” he said. “It really made me want to get at it when we were barely ahead.”
The two teams were tied 47-all after six events.
PV led 57-53 after Will Gorman won the 500 free, but Bettendorf’s depth down the stretch helped bolster the lead in combination with Roemer’s individual win.
“I’ve never trained so hard for swimming before,” Roemer said. “After I get that kind of time, it feels pretty nice to contribute to the team and get them some points.”
Both teams were neck and neck in the team standings until the very end.
Bettendorf won seven of the 11 events in the victory.
BHS seniors Alex Stone (200 free, 100 free) and Carter Anderson (50 free, 100 butterfly) each won two individual events.
Stone finished strong in the final leg of the 400 free relay to help Bettendorf (3:14.70) finish the night with another exciting win over PV (3:15.14). Stone raised his arms in triumph after he joined Noah Mitvalsky, Colin Kilcoin and Max Wetteland in the relay win.
“I knew diving in I had to do a little work to catch him,” he said of trailing PV’s Parker Paulson. “Those last five yards I was pretty sure I was going to get him, so right afterwards, I just put the one right up knowing that we got the win.”
For PV, Paulson won the 200 IM and Owen Chiles took the 100 backstroke.
Chiles, Charlie Hechler, Paulson and Bryan Caraman opened the meet with a win in the 200 medley relay.
PV coach Stacey Zapolski said it was a great meet against its city rival.
“We always say, the better Bettendorf swims, the better we swim,” she said. “I think both teams swam really, really well with a lot of energy and enthusiasm. We gave it our best shot. They just beat us.”
Bettendorf’s Wetteland, Anderson, Mitvalsky and Stone won the 200 free relay by over two seconds.
Stone said Roemer’s win was a “changing point” in the meet.
“After that, we knew we had to get it done to be able to win the meet, because he put us in position to be able to win,” Stone said. “This was definitely a good confidence boost for us. PV is always a good team and I think this just shows how good our team is. The rest of the season we just have to keep the momentum going and keep the wins going.”
Ahrens said the team’s times weren’t great at this midpoint of the season, but the group showed plenty of fight as he continues to work at finding its best lineup.
“Seniors were picking up the freshmen and sophomores,” he said. “We’ve just got to clean some stuff up. We’re about a month away from championship season so we’ve got to get ready to peak at the right time at the end.”