Fort Dodge swim coach Joel Greathouse said it will be pretty special to watch senior Josh Lee swim at the state meet for the fourth and final time.
He also hopes Lee serves as a motivator for the other swimmers the Dodgers will have in the pool.
Lee and the rest of the Dodger state qualifiers hit the pool at the Marshalltown YMCA starting Saturday at noon. Lee will compete in the 100-yard freestyle and Fort Dodge also advanced the 200 and 400 freestyle relays.
"It's good that Josh's final swim will be at state," said Greathouse. "It will be a neat thing to see. You don't see a lot of four-time state swim qualifiers. It was nice to see him go in an individual event. He'll have all the support of our coaches and the other kids on the relays as well."
Lee will be the only senior swimmer in the water for the Dodgers. Senior Tucker Van Wey will go as an alternate. The other members of the 200 free and 400 free relays will be back next year.
Junior Rob Leigh, freshman Mitch Emery, junior Caleb Asay and Lee will swim the 200 free. Leigh, freshman Cole Davis, Emery and Lee make up the 400 free relay.
Junior Troy Brandt will serve as the other alternate.
"It's a good feeling that just about everybody will be back," said Greathouse. "Having those freshmen on relays, they are setting themselves up to be four-year qualifiers. And it's rare to have two in the same year. "
Lee qualified 20th in the 100 freestyle and will swim in lane 5 of heat one. The 200 free relay is 23rd and swims in lane 1 of heat one. The 400 free relay is 21st and swims in lane 2 of heat one.
"Our goal is to just try to improve our times," said Greathouse. "It would be big to improve our times and move up a few spots. The times in some of the events are just so close."
Lee's final swim will give him 11 events at state. He qualified in the 50 freestyle, the 200 relay and the 400 relay last year. As a sophomore, he advanced to state in the 200 medley relays, 200 free relay and 400 free relay and as a freshman he swam on both the 200 medley and 400 free relays.
Fort Dodge just missed qualifying in a couple more events out of last week's district meet. Lee missed the 50 freestyle by seven-one hundredths of a second while Leigh missed out on the 100 fly by three-one hundredths. Leigh was actually 25th in the state, but just the top 24 qualify.
Greathouse said their times in each event from districts would have actually placed them in the top 15 at state a year ago.
"Rob was disappointed about not qualifying in the 100 fly, but hopefully that will be a motivator to come back and make it next year," said Greathouse.