Dodgers advance four events to state swim

Fort Dodge’s Cal Brandt has been to the state meet before and now he’s going again.

In his senior season, Brandt wanted to make sure that as many teammates would be coming with him as possible.

The Dodger senior qualified in the 100-yard butterfly (54.93) with a district championship, but chose to compete in three relays instead of another individual event to try to push his squad through.

“He is very strong in individual events, but he was more interested in helping the relays,” said Fort Dodge head coach Joel Greathouse. “He just wanted to try and get as many teammates to state as he could.”

Brandt, who was the second seed in the 200 individual medley going in, opted to swim in a third relay event instead – and that advanced two relays into state and almost the third.

Along with his individual event, Brandt will swim on the state qualifying 200-yard freestyle relay and the 400-yard freestyle relay.

Brandt’s effort garnered him co-district swimmer of the meet honors, along with Ames’ Chris Merchant.

“I was really surprised (to be district swimmer of the year),” Brandt said. “It’s a big honor to get.

“This meet was just full of surprises. It was great.”

Greathouse felt Brandt deserved to be named the top swimmer.

“It’s a great honor,” Greathouse said. “He’s been putting in the work for years.

“He’s a nice kid and very deserving.”

Junior Josh Lee, who has been a consistent state contributor as well, will return after a runner-up showing in the 50-yard freestyle (22.62).

“Josh did a great job and dropped some time in the 50,” Greathouse said. “And I think he has the chance to go even faster.”

The Dodgers had a strong showing in the 200-yard medley relay, but were disqualified on a technicality after dropping four seconds off their qualifying time.

“That was rough,” Brandt said. “I used that to fuel me for the rest of the meet.

“I was hoping for a school record, but I’m really happy with what I got.”

Ames (315) came away with the team title, as the Dodgers finished fifth with 152 points. Carroll was second (177).

In the 200 freestyle relay, the Dodgers finished second behind Ames. Brandt and and Lee swam the third and fourth legs, while sophomore Rob Leigh started and handed off to senior Austin Sanford.

In the 400 freestyle relay, the Dodgers were third. Lee started it off, followed by senior Alex Hage, Leigh and Brandt.

“It was a great day for us,” Greathouse said. “I could not fault anyone in their performance in the medley. They had incredible drops in time and those things just happen.

“I was worried about how much time we could drop in the 200 free, but we did. In the 400 free, we had our fastest splits of the season.”

This will bring Brandt’s state events in his career to six. He swam in two events last season and one as a sophomore.

“It meant a lot (going back to state),” Brandt said. “I’ve had a lot of help from my friends, family and coaches.”

This will be eight state events for Lee. He was part of three relays last season and two relays as a freshman.