Though none of her swimmers punched a ticket to the state meet, Fort Dodge girls' coach Rosie Ellendson found plenty of positives after her first district meet as head coach.
The Dodgers finished 9th in a packed field at the Dodger pool yesterday, but didn't advance anyone to the state meet set for next Saturday in Marshalltown. West Des Moines Valley rolled to the team title with 525 points. Waukee was second with 423 points in the nine-team field.
The Tigers were state runners-up last year to Ames. Valley won five events Saturday, including two relays.
Champions in each event from each of the six regionals across the state automatically qualify for the state meet. The rest of the field comes from the next best 18 times across the state.
"I am bummed that no one made it to the state meet," said Ellendson. "But we had a good swim. A lot of people had good times. The girls all went after it and that's what you have to do at this meet."
Fort Dodge's best finish came in the final race of the day as the 400-yard freestyle relay earned a spot on the medal stand with a sixth-place finish. Seniors Katy Bocken and Zoey Miller and juniors Alyssa Nehring and Jenifer Bentz combined to swim 4:24.95, the best time of the year for the Dodgers in that race.
"It was nice to see those seniors go out with a spot on the podium," said Ellendson.
The Dodgers had another shot for a medal in the 200 medley relay after clocking their best time of the season in that race, but they were disqualified when a couple swimmers left the starting blocks early on exchanges.
"That was just a bummer. All the girls swam their best time of the year in that race," said Ellendson.
The Dodgers finished 8th in the 200 free relay, clocking 1:52.01. The Dodgers swam Nehring, Angie Ellendson, Bentz and Elli Russell.
Fort Dodge's best individual finishes came from Angie Ellendson. The senior was 10th in the 50 free in 26.76 and 10th in the 100 butterfly in 1:06.76. Shay Sathoff was 11th in the 100 breast stroke in 1:18.40 and Russell was 13th in the 100 backstroke in 1:09.72.
"I know we were last (as a team) but as long as we were improving that was okay with me," said Ellendson. "I think we had a lot of best efforts from our girls today."
Waukee sophomore Maddie Gehrke was the only individual double-winner Saturday. She won the 50 free in 23.77 and the 100 fly in 56.71. She also swam on the Warriors' winning 200 medley relay.