Tough task

-Messenger photo by Britt Kudla Taylor Hartley of Fort Dodge compete during Girls 200 Yard Medley Relay on Tuesday

Ashley Beaumont wanted her Fort Dodge girls swim team to compete Tuesday night against top-ranked Ames.

But the overall thought process was different than most meets.

Beaumont moved girls around and offered a “stress-free” evening ahead of Saturday’s home Gary Winkler Invitational with the idea being to gain a sense of where the Dodgers will need to be come state.

The Little Cyclones, who scored 341 points in claiming a state title last year, won all 12 events in defeating FDSH, 140-45.

“It was good to have a chance to mix things up and try different events with the girls,” Beaumont said. “We’re still working on our relays so this gives me a good idea of what everyone is able to do.

“It was a chance to relax a bit ahead of Saturday, but still swim against a top program like Ames.”

Taylor Hartley had the lone runner-up individual showing for the Dodgers, placing second in the 100 butterfly. The senior had a time of 1:03.01 in an event she typically does not compete in.

Fort Dodge’s 200 medley, 200 freestyle and 400 freestyle relays also secured silvers.

“I know the girls were excited to try new things,” Beaumont said. “At the same time, seeing Ames first-hand allows us to gauge where we’ll need to be when it really matters at state.”

Luanne Xiao, Elora Fierke, Hartley and Madigan Peimann composed the medley, finishing in a time of 1:55.69. That included a closing 26.3 swim by Peimann. Xiao, Grace Hartley, Fierke and Morgan Border had a time of 1:48.13 in the freestyle, led by Xiao’s 25.8.

Peimann, Taylor Hartley, Border and Grace Hartley were on the 400 freestyle, posting a time of 3:57.25.

Freshman Grace Hartley picked up third place honors in the 200 individual medley with a time of 2:18.44.

“I’m a firm believer that you have to swim against the very best to be the very best,” Beaumont said. “Ames had top girls swimming their best events so now we know where the bar is set.”

Entering the night, the Little Cyclones held top times in the state in the 100 free, 100 back, 100 breast, 500 free, diving and all three relays. Sophie Sorenson, who holds two of those top individual times, is a defending state champion in the 100 back.

Sorenson, who won two individual races, competed in the U.S. Olympics Trials last year in the 200 backstroke.

Ames also captured the three relays at state and return five swimmers from those quartets.

The Dodgers return to action this Friday and Saturday at their home invite. Diving takes place first beginning at 5:30 p.m., while swimming events are set to start at 10 a.m.

In junior varsity action, Emily Asay had a second in the 100 breaststroke, with Kat Flores finishing third in the 200 and Emily Happel the same in the 200 I.M.