MUSCATINE — Jaycie Klein was determined.
The Muscatine diver wanted to win the 1-meter dive competition at the final home dual meet of her prep career against Pleasant Valley, the defending state swimming champion.
In Klein’s way was PV junior Claire Park, who had finished one spot ahead of her, in fourth place, at last season’s state diving meet.
“Claire really pushed me to do better,” Klein said. “I love having competition. It makes me do a lot better.”
And better Klein did Tuesday night at the Carver Swim Center, setting a new school and pool record by amassing a score of 318.65 to claim the 1-meter dive (six dives), one of four Muscatine victories in a 126-60 PV victory.
Muscatine junior Sarah Schemmel claimed victories in the 200 individual in 2 minutes, 7.84 seconds and the 100 breaststroke in 56.88 seconds. She also combined with Tori Roth, Samara Perkins and Erin Goss to win the 400 freestyle relay in 3:56.32.
On senior night, though, Klein shined.
The final four of her six dives scored at least 54 points each, including a 61.25 score on the most difficult dive of the night. Park had a 302.70 total in her first meeting with Klein this season, which Klein admitted created some early nerves she had to battle through.
“She had some good dives tonight,” Muscatine coach Judd Anderson said. “Claire Park certainly helped because (Klein) was determined she wasn’t going to let her win in her pool, on her board.”
No better was that on display than when she nailed the back 1½ somersault, 1½ twist dive with a 2.5 degree of difficulty, her hardest dive of the night.
“That dive is like a hit or miss for me,” Klein said with a laugh. “Sometimes I hit it really good and at practice I never hit it. It felt awesome.”
Schemmel, meanwhile, continued her strong season, even in events she probably won’t swim at the regional meet on Oct. 31.
The Muskie junior said she’ll likely focus on the 50 freestyle and either the 100 freestyle or 100 butterfly as she eyes state, but she continued her season-long improvement in the 200 IM on Tuesday when she set a career-best time and improved upon her own school record.
“That one felt pretty good,” Schemmel said of the 200 IM. “My pullout was a little iffy, but other than that it actually felt really well.”
She admitted she was a little tired by the end of the meet, a feeling Anderson said many of swimmers are enduring after a busy September.
A two-time state qualifier in four events, Schemmel is confident heading into the home stretch.
“I feel really good about where I’m at,” Schemmel said. “I’m glad with how much I’ve improved this season.”
And while they didn't crack the win column, Tuesday was also a night for the Muskies to celebrate their senior class, which included Klein, Lizzie Utley, Eden Haas, Jessie Gray, Jensen Watson, Bailey Carter, Sofia Rangel and Rachel Schoer.
“They’ve been good leaders, they’ve been good team players,” Anderson said. “They did what they were asked to do. Couldn’t ask for a better group of seniors to have.”
Anderson, though, isn’t sure what to expect with his team due to finish its regular season next Monday night at Davenport Central. They won’t compete for nearly three weeks after that until the regional meet.
The extra time off could allow the Muskies, who started the season with a small roster that has been depleted by a handful of injuries, to rest up, but it's a long break from competition.
“We swam reasonably well. We had some good times,” Anderson said of Tuesday’s dual. “We’ve struggled a little bit. We’ve been tired. We had a lot of meets. We had 10 meets in September and we only [have] two in October.
“We’ll see how resting, the opposite, is going to do.”