Savannah Thomsen

West Side’s Savannah Thomsen is the Idaho State Journal All-Area Female Swimmer of the Year.

Savannah Thomsen was set to be one of the captains of her swim team her senior year.

Then, the bomb dropped.

Not only was her family moving from their home near Raleigh, North Carolina, their new home was — drumroll, please — Dayton, Idaho.

And not only did her new school, West Side, not have a pool, it didn’t have a swim team either. Thomsen has always been a determined swimmer in the pool — a self-disciplined, hard-working athlete. When her family moved, she had to show that drive to even get to compete.

First, the Thomsens had to convince West Side to even have a swim team — although that’s a bit of a misnomer for a team that was only ever going to have one member.

“It was an extremely difficult decision to move out here for her senior year,” Thomsen’s mother, Melissa, said. “She started doing research for her swimming at West Side and they said, we’ll make this work.”

Melissa signed up to be the volunteer coach. Savannah used the pool at Sky View High School in Smithfield, Utah to practice and compete.

It was quite the change. In North Carolina, Thomsen had teammates to push her, coaches to point out flaws. She swam for a nationally-competitive club program.

In Idaho, she had barely anything — but she still managed to put up times that competed for state titles.

Thomsen easily won the 200 and 500 yard freestyles at the 4A District 5 championships. When district times from all across the state were combined for the virtual 4A state championships, she took third in the 500 and second in the 200, missing out on a state title in the latter by under three seconds.

“It was late in the game, but she came in and packed a punch,” Melissa Thomsen said. “She just has her own desire and drive to do the best she can.”