Another milestone

Check off another milestone for the record-breaking Fort Dodge girls swim team.

For the first time in the history of this meet, the Dodgers claimed the team title in the Gary Winkler Invitational at the Dodger Pool Saturday.

The Dodgers won the 200 yard medley relay, two individual events, and finished with 394 points to top the eight-team field. Carroll was second with 319 points, just ahead of Lewis Central at 318.

“This is awesome,” said third-year Dodger Coach Ashley Koons. “I’m very impressed with our girls. It’s just so big to be able to win your own invite.

“We’ve had two historic wins this season. Now we want take aim at regionals and state. Placing at state is the goal of a lot of these girls.”

Earlier this year, the Dodgers beat West Des Moines Valley for the first time ever in a dual meet.

Senior Lehr Thorson won the 100 breaststroke in 1:09.24, and freshman Luanne Xiao claimed the 100 backstroke in 1:01.21.

Fort Dodge claimed the medley in 1:55.85 with Kate Keith, Thorson, Xiao and Gretta Leigh swimming the legs.

“Beating Valley was great, but this was huge, too,” said Thorson. “I think we have the potential to surprise some people at state. Before, just getting to state was a big deal. Now we want to go down to state and place.”

Fort Dodge also got another school record from junior Taylor Hartley in the 500 freestyle. She clocked 5:20.30 in the preliminaries, but with the short turnaround to the finals, she was second to Lewis Central’s Zoe Pawloski, who swam 5:18.41 to Hartley’s 5:23.73.

The meet was swam under a new format with preliminaries and finals. The top 16 in each individual event and the top eight relays advanced to the finals.

“Some coaches want to make this the format for the state meet,” said Koons. “We’re the only state that doesn’t have prelims at state. Our girls are just used to swimming twice a day with morning and afternoon practices. They made sure they took care of themselves leading up to this meet.”

Lewis Central actually won six of the 12 events, led by senior MyKenzie Leehy, who will swim for the University of Houston next year. She won the 200 freestyle (1:55.76) and the 100 freestyle (53.12). She also brought the Titans from third to first on the final leg of the 400 freestyle relay.

But Fort Dodge used its new-found depth to rack up team points. The Dodgers had several events where they placed two and three girls among the Top 12.

Hartley was second in the 200 freestyle (1:58.85), Leigh was second in the 50 freestyle (25.645), Keith was second in the 100 back (1:01.89) and Leigh was second in the 100 breast (1:01.68).

Fort Dodge also placed second in the 200 free relay (1:44.04) and the 400 free relay (3:46.0). Madigan Peimann, Thorson, Adyson McKinney and Hartley swam the 200 free relay. Peimann, Hartley, Xiao and Leigh swam the 400 free relay.

“It’s so nice to look at the depth we have,” said Koons. “We don’t win this meet without all the girls that swam well. Now we’ll have our eyes set on regionals and state.”

Fort Dodge had two swimmers place in the 200 yard individual medley, the 50 free, the 100 free and the 100 back. They had three place winners in the 200 free, 500 free and the 100 breast.

The Dodgers return to the pool Tuesday swimming at Johnston starting at 5:30 p.m.

Algona finished seventh with 130 points. The Bulldogs’ best showing was Jessica Anderson, who was third in the 100 breast in 1:12.37. She was also fifth in the 50 in 26.67, and the Bulldogs were sixth in the 200 medley relay.