TOUGH TASK

First-year Fort Dodge girls swim coach Michael Peterson is seeing exactly what he wants in the early stages of the season.

The Dodgers were unable to overcome the depth of Ankeny here in their home opener Thursday night, falling 134-42, but the final score was of little concern at this point for Peterson.

“We are having fun and that is helping us work hard in practice and compete hard in meets,” said Peterson, who was a prep standout at Ames before competing at the collegiate level. “Right now, I’m very pleased with what I have been seeing from the girls. We had several competing in new events (Wednesday), and that is only going to help give us flexibility going forward.”

Ankeny earned all 11 races, though Fort Dodge picked up diving thanks to senior RyAnn Dawson’s 117.70 points.

Taylor Hartley was runner-up in both the 50 free and 500 free. Hartley, a freshman, clocked a time of 26.16 to finish just behind fellow classmate Nikki Ault from Ankeny in the 50, while she posted a time of 5:45.41 in the 500.

Elli Russell, another senior, was third in the 100 fly with a time of 1:20.59. The 200 medley relay of Hartley, Lehr Thorson, Katie Keith and Russell also finished third in 2:01.08, while the 200 free relay (1:49.65) of Keith, Russell, Thorson and Hartley were third, as well.

“Taylor had a really good showing,” Peterson said. “Our medley relay (which finished third) is just three seconds off what qualified for state last year. Elli had a strong performance in the fly and 200 free, and Lehr (Thorson) cut eight seconds off her time in the 100 free.

“We’ve got a lot of really good swimmers who are going out and competing very hard. I am very confident in the fact that we’ll be seeing great results all year.”

Ankeny’s Cassie Frazier (200 free, 100 fly), Sarah Shafer (200 IM, 100 free) and Ault (50 free, 100 back) were all double event winners.

The Dodgers return to action on Tuesday when they host Marshalltown and Des Moines North. Swimming begins at 5:30 p.m.