Facing a second Mississippi Athletic Conference girls swimming power in the last week, Muscatine fell on the short end of a 143-40 home dual against Pleasant Valley on Tuesday.
The Spartans, who finished seventh at last year’s state meet, took first in 11 out of 12 events and second 12 times.
"I was just telling the (Pleasant Valley) coach that our league is kind of a three-tier league," Muscatine coach Judd Anderson said. "We have the Bettendorf-PV tier and the Muscatine-Davenport Central tier, and then you got the everybody else tier. I'd hate to be in the everybody else tier."
Facing an elite program like Pleasant Valley, Anderson tried to get his young swimmers into different event.
"We tried to swim a few off events," Anderson said. "I find it difficult myself to get excited about swimming the same events over and over again. You don't practice enough between meets to make a significant improvement in an event, so we try to switch it up."
A bright spot for the Muskies on Tuesday was Lexi Hirt took first in the 1-meter diving competition, collecting 182.05 points.
Muscatine also added five third-place finishes — the 200 medley relay team finished in 2 minutes, 8.29 seconds, Lear clocked a 2:27.79 in the 200 individual medley, Keagan Eberhard scored 165.65 points in 1-meter diving, and both of Muscatine's 200 freestyle and 400 freestyle relay teams earned bronze in 1:50.41 and 4:13.92, respectively.
"We had some decent swims today," Anderson said. "I don't know what the best time ratio is, but maybe 40 percent (swam season bests)."