Fort Dodge makes strides in pool

Head coach Rosie Ellendson saw a number of positives in the performance of her Fort Dodge girls swim team here Thursday night.

Despite placing fifth once again in their own fourth annual Gary Winkler Invitational with 124 points, the Dodgers still earned a handful of spots on the podium. Spencer (296.5) took home top honors, while defending meet champion Sioux City Metro (234) settled for runner-up honors. Algona (60) checked in eighth.

“I thought we had some good swims, and ending up fifth place is very exciting for us,” Ellendson said. “This is actually the highest we’ve scored as a team in our invite, so hopefully we can keep moving up every year and eventually finish on top.”

Lauren Underwood, a senior, claimed bronze for FDSH in the 100 breaststroke (1:16.45). Sioux City Metro’s Alizah Wink (1:12.79) was the winner.

“Lauren took off another second in the 100 breaststroke, and it was nice to see her continue to improve,” said Ellendson. “Her goal is to get down to 1:10. With some more hard work, I think she can get there.”

Amanda Schaffer finished fourth for Fort Dodge in her diving event, while the 200 medley relay (Elli Russell, Underwood, Caitlyn Goebel and Lehr Thorson, 2:07.75) and the 200 freestyle relay (Thorson, Russell. Gretta Leigh and Underwood, 1:55.38) were each fifth.

“What was really special about Amanda (last night) was she landed a very hard reverse dive, which she’s never been able to get before,” Ellendson said. “Prior to today, our best time this season in the 200 medley was a 2:11. Our 200 freestyle cut about a half of a second off their best time, too.”

In addition, the Dodger 400 freestyle relay (Ashley Graham, Shay Saathoff, Schaffer and Jennifer Bentz, 4:46.46) was sixth.

“Ashley also swam a 6:32 to end up in eighth place in the 500 freestyle after