FROM THE GROUND UP
FD’s Fierke blossoms from freshman afterthought to Hawkeye recruit
As a freshman in high school, Andrew Fierke was 5 feet tall on a good day and just trying to find a way to stay in shape for cross country.
Four years later, the 6-foot-5 senior is headed to the University of Iowa on a swimming scholarship.
Fierke’s high school growth spurt — both literally and figuratively — has been remarkable. While his body began to take the shape of a Div. I swimmer, his mind developed both a passion and a commitment to the sport that allowed him to take full advantage of his newfound physical gifts.
”I went through a lot of changes, but it wasn’t just about (getting taller),” said Fierke, a Fort Dodge Senior High all-stater. ”Swimming was just something to do in the (cross country offseason) at first. When I was a sophomore, I started to think, ‘hey, I’m getting good at this and I’m going to invest time in the summer to get better.’ As a junior, I started to really see the results from the work I’d put in. And I realized it was as much about the mental effort and preparation as anything.
”I’ve grown a foot and a half since my freshman year, which obviously makes a huge difference, but that only gets you so far. You have to push and discipline yourself (to reach new levels).”
Fierke had a breakout senior season with the Dodgers, placing second at state in the 200 freestyle and third in the 500 freestyle. The district champion and athlete of the year broke long-standing school records in both events with times of 1:40.91 and 4:32.94, respectively.
Fierke’s 500 time was the eighth-best in state history.
Fierke is projected to compete in both the breaststroke and individual medley for head coach Marc Long’s Hawkeyes. He signed his letter of intent on Thursday at FDSH.
”This is going to be a big step,” said Fierke, who plans on majoring in engineering at Iowa. ”But I’m looking forward to it. You go from the top in high school back down to the bottom in college and have to climb your way up again. I’ll have to practice twice as hard, but I like the challenge of having to prove yourself all over again.”
Fierke is the second Iowa City-bound Fort Dodge swimmer from the 2018 class, joining UI women’s swimming recruit Taylor Hartley. Fierke and Hartley are two of six current Dodger seniors receiving Div. I scholarships of some sort, with Brody Teske (Penn State, wrestling), Drew Bennett (Northern Iowa, wrestling), Cayd Lara (Northern Iowa, wrestling), and Liza Van Zyl (Drake, soccer) also headed to major universities.
TIMEOUT WITH ANDREW FIERKE
Vacation destination: beaches of California.
People I would like to have dinner with: Jesus Christ, Elon Musk, Stephen Hawking.
It would surprise people that I: pray before every race.
My sports role model: Michael Phelps.
My everyday role model: my parents.
I can’t go a day without: watching a funny video on my phone.
Most heated rivalry: Marshalltown Bobcats.
Favorite road trip: all of them; having fun telling stories and spending time with teammates.
What are you listening to right now? Nickelback.
Team: Chicago Cubs.
Movie: Black Panther.
Book: Atlas Shrugged.
Phone app: YouTube.