Fort Dodge’s Thorson to swim at Iowa State

Dodger senior to continue her career at Div. I level

Submitted photo Fort Dodge’s Lehr Thorson signs her letter of intent to swim at Iowa State University with her father, Tjeran, and mother, Julie, at Fort Dodge Senior High.

AMES — The excitement of the unknown first attracted Fort Dodge’s Lehr Thorson to competitive swimming years ago.

Many of those same feelings were revisited during her decision to take the Div. I plunge and commit to Iowa State University.

Thorson officially signed with head coach Duane Sorenson’s Cyclones this past week, choosing ISU over other official offers from St. Cloud State University and Minnesota State University.

”I remember being a freshman (for the Dodgers) with no real experience and feeling like I was this blank slate,” Thorson said. ”Looking back now, I realize I had the opportunity to do or be anything at that point. I just needed the time and work and guidance to get there.

”When Coach Sorenson told me he likes to find diamonds in the rough, it took me back to that. We had a conversation about it during my exit interview after my official visit. I’ll be back in a similar position and starting over in a sense, where I have no clue what the future will hold or how far the (Iowa State program’s) resources will take me.”

Thorson transformed herself from a raw natural athlete to a finely-tuned all-state contender during her prep career at FDSH. She placed fourth in the 100-yard breaststroke this past fall — the Dodgers’ best individual non-diving performance since 1990. Thorson broke her own school record in the event multiple times during her senior year, and recorded a 1:05.33 at state.

Thorson also competed on Fort Dodge’s record-breaking 200 and 400 freestyle relay events, and the 200 medley relay also shattered a program mark that stood for 26 years and included her mother, Julie, among the quartet.

The idea of continuing in the pool collegiately officially became a reality for Thorson after the state meet.

”I’d been considering it for a while, but I remember finishing the (100 breaststroke) race and thinking to myself, ‘I’m not done. I still have a lot more to give (the sport),”’ Thorson said. ”I felt the same way after the club season was over. There’s a lot of unfinished business. I can and will keep getting better.

”The chance to swim at the highest level really separated Iowa State (from the other schools). I want to prove myself there, and being on scholarship will allow me to keep growing both athletically and academically.”

Thorson’s father, Tjeran, was an all-state linebacker at FDSH before walking on at the University of Iowa. Her grandfather, the late Sherwyn Thorson, was a legendary football player and wrestler for the Hawkeyes and a former professional gridder in the Canadian Football League. Her other grandfather, Sam Moser, was an all-state football player at West Lyon and an All-American at a junior college in Worthington (Minn.), before embarking on a Hall of Fame coaching career with the Dodgers.

Thorson’s uncle, Nik, played in the defensive backfield for Iowa State from 2002-05.

Thorson recognized just how much the FDSH and ACAC-FD programs have changed her life both in and out of the pool.

”I’m so thankful for the support of our community,” Thorson said. ”It’s really special to me. Since I signed (on Wednesday), I’ve heard from so many people — it’s been amazing.

”Before the state meet my sophomore year, I honestly thought, ‘this is as good as it gets.’ Just making it was huge at the time. But (Fort Dodge swimming) has come a long way. Being a Division I swimmer didn’t seem possible back then or even (before the 2016 season). Now that Iowa State has given me that opportunity, though, I’m going to make the most of it.”