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Dodgers host Gary Winkler Invitational

The Fort Dodge swim team will put on a smaller version of the state format on Saturday as they host the Gary Winkler Invitational in the Dodger pool.

The Dodgers, along with Dowling, Cedar Falls, Spencer, Sioux City North and Lewis Central will take part in a meet with preliminary heat and a final heat.

The prelims begin at 11 a.m. with the finals to start at approximately 6 p.m.

“We are the first team in the state to hold a meet with prelims and finals,” said Fort Dodge head coach Ashley Beaumont. “It helps to transition to the state meet and our girls and the opposing teams get an opportunity to get the experience and it gives them a head start for the season.”

The Dodgers have had three meets so far this season, swimming against top-ranked eight-time defending state champion Ames. They also own victories over Marshalltown and Algona.

“We have swam great times so far this season,” Beaumont said. “We have had two girls swim times close to qualify for the state meet. We have a smaller team, but this meet will give us a chance to fight those times and a chance at winning the meet.

“We want to compete to win the meet and place in the top three in every single event.”

Eileen Fierke (500 freestyle) and Madigan Peimann (50 freestyle and 100 backstroke) are close to state times.

For the third time this year, Fort Dodge will be in front of their home crowd.

“We love swimming at home,” Beaumont said. “There are so many former Dodgers and community members that come out and support these girls.

“They’ve worked so hard and everyone wants to come out and watch them compete.”