Dodgers set to defend Garst title

After winning its own Rusty Garst Invitational title the past two years, the Fort Dodge boys swim team seeks an encore performance here this afternoon.

Start time for the 21st annual event is set for 12:30 p.m. at the FDSH pool.

Joining the host Dodgers in the field are Carroll, Decorah, Newton, Sioux City, Spencer and Waterloo West.

“I feel like Carroll and Waterloo West are the strongest teams, but Newton and Fort Dodge will both be fighting for that top spot, as well,” said FDSH head coach Joel Greathouse. “We don’t have the same depth that we’ve had each of the past two seasons, which could hurt us a little in the team race.”

Behind nine event victories, Fort Dodge claimed a 92-75 dual triumph over CIC Northern Division rival Mason City in its last outing Thursday night.

“We’re looking to continue to drop times and set ourselves up for districts here in a few weeks,” Greathouse said. “This is a meet we always gear towards and key on, and I think the kids are swimming really well right now.”

A year ago, the Dodgers secured just their second Rusty Garst Invitational in program history, earning six gold medals and accumulating 281.5 points. Josh Lee participated on both the 200 medley relay and 200 freestyle relay quartets for FDSH, while Cal Brandt also competed on the 200 freestyle relay.

“It’s a pretty balanced field, as there is no real superstar team here (today),” Greathouse said. “Everybody has some good athletes, and there should be some very competitive battles in the pool.”

Fort Dodge will also host a district meet on Feb. 2. Carroll, Sioux City and Spencer will all join the Dodgers for that meet, as well.